Nurses and nursing assistants suffer more debilitating lifting injuries than any other occupation, and those injuries are caused mainly by moving and lifting patients. We often see nursing home employees who are seriously injured while lifting patients. The Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is launching an investigation of medical faciliies to make sure that these facilities are keeping a safe working enviornment so that these employees don’t get injured. These injuries can be seriouse and career ending for those in the health care fields; especially for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), Medical Assistants, Registered Nurses (RNs), and others working at these facilities. We also see that those working for Home Health Agencies receive these same disabaling injuries. As I have stated in previouse post this is unfortunate because most of these facilities are nonsubscribers (which means they do not carry Texas Workers’ Compensation). This means that theise employers have wide discretion in what, if anything they pay to injured workers. In fact, we have seen many of these facilities use out of town doctors who routinely proclaim that the workers’ injuries are preexisting or not caused by a work injury. The employers take these opinions and use them to jurstify denying all benefits to injured workers. This was and is very effective because, prior to September 1, 2015, these claims were considered claims under the Medical Malpractice Act which made it vertually impossible for these workers to sue their employers for failure to provide a safe work environment. But those days of employer impunity will come to an end on September 1, 2015 when medical facility employees will again be able to bring suit agianst their employers without the employers having the defenses in the medical malpractice act. Unfortunately, nearly all of these facilities (especially nursing homes) have arbitration agreements which still severely limits the rights of injured workers; but arbitration is certainly better than no claim at all.
While OSHA has stated that they are going to target these medical facilities, they have very limited numbers of investigators to investigate nursing homes and hospitals. However, this new emphasis by OSHA and the change of the law on liability should cause these medical facilities think twice about dening all claims of injured workers and of not providing the proper number of Nursing employees to deal with moving patients. Hopefully the jobs of CNA s, RN s, and Medical Assistants in the El Paso area will have less injuries and more rights if they are injured.