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Nursing Homes As Dangerous Workspaces

Allsup recently shared the results of a workplace injury study that it conducted this month. Analyzing data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the firm compiled information on the scope of serious workplace injuries, the type of work that is most dangerous, and tracked how those details varied from state to state.

But what does this have to do with nursing homes?

It turns out that nursing homes are actually some of the most dangerous workspaces in the country.

The study results and a helpful map can be found on the Allsup website.

Nursing Home Injuries
As discussed in a McKnights story on the study, the researchers defined workplace injuries for purposes of the effort as any time an employee needed a “job transfer or restriction” as a result of an accident on the job.

Overall, working in a nursing home is the fifth most dangerous job in America–when calculated based on suffering some form of injury. The only job sites ahead of nursing homes are ones you might expect to come with occasional injuries: amusement parks, animal slaughtering facilities, beverage manufacturing, and foundries.

Altogether the state of Maine had the most injuries at nursing homes, averaging five employee injuries per one hundred workers. When divided between private run homes and public homes, a few other neighboring states top the list. Iowa has the most worker injuries at state-run sites while Indiana had the most at private homes.

The study itself did not delve into many specifics regarding how the injuries came about in any workplace setting. However. McKnight’s coverage of the data notes that one of the likely causes in the nursing home context is the injuries sustained by caregivers when trying to transfer residents. In fact, OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has created an awareness campaign to education employees and employers about the risks of skeletal and muscular injuries that commonly strike these workers.

Nursing Home Safety for Everyone
This news may come a surprise for those who are used to discussing injuries to residents–not their caregivers. But it is a stark reminder of the significant dangers that exist at these homes. Perhaps most importantly, it is a testament to the all around lack of commitment to safety that permeates at different facilities, for both residents and front-line care workers alike. Owners and operators simply have to do better.

The comments section on the McKnights story actually offers a few helpful ideas about the underlying problems. For one thing, improper staffing may be to blame. Not having enough caregivers to provide the full support that each resident needs often results in both inadequate care to the ailing senior as well as injury to the workers. That is because caregivers are more likely to rush, cut corners, and make hasty actions in order to keep up with an unrealistic caregiving agenda. There is simply only so much that one worker can do in any given time, if administrators do not hire enough workers to accommodate the need, problems will arise.

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