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Hospitals have some of the nation’s riskiest occupations, according to the latest injury data from the Bureau of Labor Stastics (BLS). (See table.) More than 44,000 nurses’ aides, orderlies, and attendants suffered from work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in 1999, the highest number of any occupation. RNs had some 13,000 MSDs. Together, with those other health care workers, they accounted for one-tenth of the nation’s MSDs that led to lost workdays. The rates for registered nurses rose slightly, while they declined for industry as a whole.
|Number of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (in thousands) Involving Time Away from Work for Selected Occupations, 1993-1999|
|Nursing aides, orderlies||103.9||101.8||100.6||93.6||91.3||84.1||75.7|
|Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, DC.|
The BLS data showed:
"Many [health care] systems have a long way to go in terms of preventing injuries," says Geoff Kelafant, MD, MSPH, FACOEM, medical director of the occupational health department at the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon, IL.