If you had to make a list of the career paths most likely to result in serious injuries, you’d probably focus on jobs in the fields of construction and manufacturing, or perhaps meat-packing or farming. It’s true that those can be some of the most dangerous jobs, but you would omit one of the most at-risk career paths for workers — the medical field.

People who work in medicine, especially those employed in hands-on patient care positions, are at elevated risk of injuries while on the job. There are a number of risk factors, but the biggest one stems from the physically taxing work involved with providing medical care to adults.

Back injuries and other forms of overexertion are common

The single biggest injury risk for hospital and nursing home workers is overexertion. Roughly 48 percent of hospital-worker injuries are linked to this cause. Back injuries, hernias, strains and sprains are examples of overexertion injuries. Considering the degree of manual work certain patients may require, e.g., being lifted in and out of bed or supported as they walk, it’s not surprising that so many medical workers experience overexertion injuries .

The average American is much heavier now than in past decades. Combine the increased weight of patients with an aging workforce, and it’s the perfect recipe for traumatic injuries from overexertion. Hospital workers, in their attempt to provide excellent patient care, could end up suffering injuries that leave them unable to work for several weeks or even months.

Additional risk factors for medical workers

Compared with the average full-time worker, hospital workers have increased overall risk of injuries. Across all private industry jobs analyzed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 105.2 workers out of every 10,000 full-time employees suffered injuries. For hospital workers, that figure is 157.5 out of 10,000.

In addition to injuries from lifting or caring for patients, hospital workers also have serious risks for falls, which account for a qDuarter of hospital workplace injuries. Contact with objects, like needles or defibrillators, causes another 13 percent of health care workers’ injuries, while violence is responsible for 9 percent. Hospital workers who interact with addicts or people in emergency situations, as well as those who deal with the mentally unstable or those suffering from dementia, may also have increased risks of violence at work.

Regardless of the cause of the injuries, hospital workers in the Modesto area have the right to seek workers’ compensation for any workplace injury. If you need to file a California workers’ compensation claim, make sure you understand the rules and comply with them in a timely manner.