Healthcare Workers in Queensland (including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Mackay, Townsville or Sunshine Coast) regularly risk their own health and lives to protect the health and lives of others. In the course of their profession, they often expose themselves to a number of significant risks.
Accidental Blood & Bodily Fluid Exposures
Bodily fluid samples and blood can run a biohazard risk of being exposed on your skin or even by ingestion should the fluids spill and cause splash or particle area of effect exposure.
Worker fatigue can highly contribute to this risk as tired employees become less alert and the chances of human error increase. This can happen with any healthcare worker who deals with bio hazardous materials and includes: house staff, nursing staff and technicians who are more likely to handle these specimens.
The effect is dependent on the disease or illness of the patient and can range to a minor flu, to serious like contracting HIV, or even deadly such as contracting Ebola.
Needlestick & Sharp Injuries
Needles only cause physical injury, but may also pass off serious diseases and illnesses.
Employers that fail to provide adequate safety equipment and training, as well as workers who fail to adhere to an organizations safety standards are the leading cause of sharp injuries.
Other causes include serious work related factors such as: fatigue, depression (stress from the workplace leading to self-harm), long shift work, environmental stressors and busy work pace.
Injuries from Medical Equipment
Medical equipment is meant to help diagnose and heal people, but can also equally cause injury if the equipment is faulty or if the operator is not adequately trained, or negligent in its operation. An accident from equipment can result in injuries such as electrocution, equipment falling or rolling over a health care worker, Body parts being caught in moving parts of machinery, etc.
Injuries and disease from equipment such as MRI or X-Ray equipment can also happen if proper procedures are not followed by the operator or the patient.
Motor Vehicle Collisions
Ambulance drivers and other health care staff that operate vehicles can suffer serious injuries such as musculoskeletal injuries, fractures or even death. The nature of having to quickly arrive at a scene and back to the hospital greatly increases the chances of human error and the requirement for very specialized training. Fatigue in this situation can be a deadly issue when it affects a health care worker’s ability to remain alert on the job.
However, the most risk comes from other drivers on the road and unfortunately, this is a situation that no operator has control over.
Fatigue & Sleep Disorders
It is not uncommon for workers to develop sleep disorders and fatigue symptoms. The demands of the health sector require constant alert and training. When fatigue affects a worker’s diligence and judgment it can increase the risk of injury and human error. These issues not only increase the risk of accident and injury, but they also affect a worker’s ability to enjoy their normal life with their friends and family in both social and private settings.
It is becoming more important for workplaces to take into account worker fatigue and failing to do so only increases the risk of injury to a health care worker.
A Legal Perspective
A common but often nervous question that arises from healthcare workers is: what if my workplace is responsible for my injury?
Many workers in Queensland including Brisbane and the Gold Coast or in Northern Queensland such as in Townsville or in mining areas such as Mackay are unaware of the duty of care that employers must adhere to in order to protect their employees.
If an employer is negligent in their responsibility of making sure that reasonable safety standards are in place to protect their workers, they open themselves up to civil liability.
Another legal issue that arises in the healthcare profession is whether a worker will be able to claim WorkCover benefits.
In order for your injury to be accepted for compensation under WorkCover, your injury must fit the definition in the legislation as “a personal injury arising out of, or in the course of, employment if the employment is a significant contributing factor to the injury.”
This can sometimes be a challenge when it comes to the healthcare occupation because disputes can arise from situations such as if a worker takes a break (is it a personal break such as stopping by the store, or a general coffee break?)
The circumstances of each worker are unique depending on the situation and it is highly advisable to speak to a personal injury lawyer. Most offer free initial advice to help you in your situation.
Being denied for WorkCover benefits can be a difficult situation for many people financially and it may also prolong the time that you are unable to return to your duties in your healthcare occupation.
An accredited specialist in personal injury is the best kind of lawyer to speak to for your issues concerning your workplace injury and your WorkCover benefits.
Workers Compensation does not need to be unnecessarily complicated
This may help you simplify the legal process and all you to make a decision on if pursuing a claim is in your best interests.
Take advantage of this resource as soon as possible because strict time limitations apply to your claim.
All you need to do is simply call us at 1300 720 544 or fill out our case review form.