November 30, 2015 | POSTED BY: Larrimer Group
Workers in the health care industry have a much higher risk of contracting blood borne diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis C, specifically from needlestick injuries. For some of these workers, the cost of treatment and the side effects from starting powerful antiviral drugs can make it difficult to return to work right away.
A new report released by the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine shows why health care workers are at risk and how acute the problem has become. According to the research, health care workers have a 60 percent higher chance of developing hepatitis C than the general population.
Hepatitis C can spread when health care workers are exposed to infected blood, through either needlestick injuries or other sharp equipment. Hospitals use the term “sharps” to describe scalpels, lancets and other devices that can puncture skin and transfer diseases.
Surgeons, midwives, microbiologists, pathologists and blood bank staff have a 60 percent higher chance of contracting the virus, according to the report. Can these health care workers receive workers’ compensation should they contract hepatitis C?
Workers should immediately report needlestick injuries to their nearest supervisor, as hospitals would keep records of the incident. Some hospitals have documentation designed specifically for reporting needlestick injuries.
Depending on the situation, health care workers will have an easier time receiving workers’ compensation. Documentation provided by workers who have been exposed to pathogens can make it much easier to prove injuries occurred during the duties of their jobs. In addition, workers who contract blood borne pathogens may also be eligible for disability benefits.
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