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Helping hands in health care industry can get hurt, too

Earlier this year, a North Carolina business journal listed the 10 jobs expected to grow fastest in our state in 2017. Five of the top 10 were in the health care industry and included jobs such as nurse practitioner, physical therapy assistant and physician assistant. Health care positions also include many other jobs in hospitals, emergency care, dental offices, birthing centers and more.

While all of these jobs involve helping people recover from illness and injury (or helping people get preventive care), they all carry risks to the workers of illness and injury. The federal government's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says the health care field has "a number of serious safety and health hazards."

OSHA lists some obvious risks to workers in health-related jobs (especially for hospital employees), such as exposure to bloodborne pathogens and biological hazards as well as potential chemical and drug exposures and waste anesthetic gas exposures. And there are laboratory hazards, radioactive materials and x-ray hazards and many other chemical exposure risks.

Other health care work-related risks are ones just about everyone faces to one degree or another: workplace violence and ergonomic hazards from repetitive tasks.

Add it all up and OSHA says, "this industry has one of the highest rates of work related injuries and illnesses."

Because the health care industry is expected to continue to grow as the nation's population ages, the risks to workers are likely to grow as well.

For those injured in health care-related work or any other occupation, workers' compensation benefits can be crucial to getting needed health care and financial assistance. If your claim has been denied, you can appeal the decision with the help of a workers' comp attorney who understands the process and paperwork.

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