The dangers of working in a health care setting are well-documented. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has pointed out that the health care sector accounts for more on the job injuries than either construction or manufacturing. One explanation for this is that healthcare is one of the economy’s fastest growing sectors.
Another reason that health care accounts for so many workers’ compensation injuries is the physical nature of many of the jobs — lifting, carrying, moving patients. Often, workers are injured due to unpreventable variables like uncooperative or combative patients.
A final factor that sets healthcare workers apart from other hazardous lines of work is the potential for contracting an illness or disease while on the job. Clearly, as part of their work, workers in the health care sector are faced with airborne, blood-borne and other pathogens on a regular basis. If a worker contracts a serious illness due to their job duties, the worker may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Sometimes, the facility itself — not the patients — can be the source of illness. And, while occupational hazards resulting from such infections are not limited to health care facilities, one of the most egregious examples in Illinois happens to be a state-operated veterans’ home in Quincy. An ongoing outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease at the facility has made “dozens” of the home’s staff members and residents gravely ill. Since 2015, 13 residents have dies from infections linked to the Legionella bacteria.
The governor’s administration is recommending renovations of tp to $245 million to refurbish the facility in an effort to quell the outbreak. But, that is of little comfort for the time being. Anyone who believes they have contracted an illness due to exposure while on the job should seek medical attention immediately. Then, they should seek the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
Source: East Peoria Times, “For Illinois’ $245M Legionnaires’ fix, rhetoric meets reality,” John O’Connor, May 7, 2018