Workplace Health and Safety
Health and Safety For RNs
Getting hurt on the job is not part of the job! Nurses continue to make advances in job safety. Participation on the safer sharps evaluation and selection committee (mandated by the OSHA blood borne pathogen standard), learning about the Safe Patient Handling campaign and becoming involved with the health and safety committee work are but a few of the activities nurses can avail themselves of to make the workplace safer. If you do become injured on the job, these eminders can make navigating the workers compensation maze a little less complicated:
Immediate Steps to Support your Case:
- Notify your supervisor (in writing);
- Complete an accident/occurrence report;
- Seek medical attention, stating “this injury happened while I was at work”;
- File your workers compensation claim, even if you think you will be better soon. The claim can lay idle if not acted upon, but trying to file after a long time has passed is difficult.
- Tell the doctor about every part of the body involved in the incident, not just what hurts.
- Keep your appointments.
- If you need help with your claim, contact a workers compensation attorney.
- You have the right to seek medical care from a doctor of your choice. It is highly recommended the doctor be versed in handling a workers compensation case, including completion and filing of the W-4 medical report. Your employer may require you to see a “company doctor” for the injury.
- You have a right to file a workers compensation claim within 30 days of the incident. Your employer may have a policy that states they are to be notified within 24 hours (or similar time frame) to be eligible for workers compensation. While they can make an internal reporting policy for incidents, the law states that you have up to 30 days from the occurrence to file the claim.
- You have a right to be represented by a workers compensation attorney.
Pandemic Preparedness: Are you prepared?
- If you had to remain at work for an extended period of time due to quarantine or staffing needs, would your family manage without you? (are arrangements in place for child care, shopping, paying bills, pet care, etc?)
- If you had to remain at work for an extended period of time due to quarantine or staffing needs, could you? (do you have medications, change of clothes, phone numbers to activate your family plan, etc?)
- Is your hospital prepared with a plan everyone knows about? Have you agreed upon extended health care coverage for work related exposures which make you ill? Are engineering and administrative controls, work practices and personal protective equipment in place, functional and in adequate supply? Has training on these measures been conducted and understood? Have overtime issues been resolved in the event you have to work extended hours?