Workplace violence is a threat in any Minnesota workplace, but nowhere is the risk as severe as in the health care industry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says almost 25,000 assaults in work environments occur nationwide each year, of which health care workers make up 75% of the victims. Workers in any health care facility are at risk, but those in inpatient psychiatric facilities and emergency departments of hospitals are most vulnerable.
Surveys revealed that about 50% of emergency physicians had been assaulted while on duty, and approximately 70% of nurses in emergency rooms reported being kicked and hit by patients. Sadly, both physicians and nurses say the threat of violence affects the level of patient care they provide. They all believe that it is time for this issue to be addressed by federal law because it has been regarded as part of health care jobs for too long.
Hospitals report that violence occurs due to multiple factors that often involve psychiatric conditions, abuse of alcohol and drugs, and frustration among patients having to wait their turn for medical care. Moreover, in many cases, it is family members of patients whose frustrations reach boiling point, driving them to assault health care workers. Assault injuries range from bruises to concussions and traumatic brain injuries, and some victims even suffer gunshot wounds.
Health care workers in Minnesota are at as much risk of being assaulted as those in other states. Fortunately, the Minnesota workers’ compensation insurance program has the backs of injured health care workers. However, navigating the benefits claims process could be challenging, and many workplace assault victims choose to utilize the skills of an attorney who has experience in obtaining maximum applicable benefits.