Four of the top eight are medical workers: orderlies, nursing assistants, personal care aids, and registered nurses.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 35,000 nursing employees are injured each year severely enough that they miss work.
Some hospitals have report that they have reduced lifting injuries among nursing staff by up to 80 percent — using an approach often called “safe patient handling.” They use special machinery to lift patients, similar to motorized hoists that factory workers use to move heavy parts. The hospitals also conduct intensive training among the staff.
Yet the majority of the nation’s hospitals have not taken similar action. The injuries are often so severe that they’re career-ending, a problem compounded by the fact that many of those injured are relatively young. To help address the problem, on Jan. 1, 2012, the Hospital Patient and Health Care Worker Injury Protection Act went into effect in California. This NPR article follows several injured medical workers and their stories.