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Undoubtedly, health care workers face serious risks on the job

Even though it can be easy to forget when Minnesota residents are ill or injured and need medical attention, few of them would deny that health care workers put their lives at risk when they go to work, especially now. If you work in the health care industry, you certainly know that you could suffer serious injuries or illnesses as a result of your chosen profession.

You rely on your employer and those you work with to help keep you safe, but that may not be enough to protect you. Regardless, you got into this industry because you wanted to help people despite the risks.

The primary sources of danger

A wide variety of dangers greets you every time you arrive for work. However, all of them ordinarily fit into the following three categories:

  • Dangers from physical hazards: The machinery, people and nature of your duties all put you at risk for physical injuries. For instance, you may be one of many who suffer from a musculoskeletal disorder from lifting patients, lifting heavy objects or performing repetitive tasks.
  • Dangers from infectious agents: The fact of the matter is that you work with sick people, and many of them are contagious. You could contract an illness from contact with or proximity to your patients, depending on the agent involved.
  • Dangers from chemical hazards: You could suffer an illness or injury from the drugs, cleaning agents and laboratory materials you come into contact with on a daily basis.

You and your employer can take steps to mitigate the danger to you, but those measures are not always enough. When a person's life is in imminent danger and it is your job to get to that person as quickly as possible, it's easy to make mistakes that could end up causing you harm. In some cases, you just don't have sufficient safety measures in place or sufficient personal protective equipment to protect you.

In any case, if you do suffer an injury or contract an illness during the performance of your duties, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. You will have enough to worry about during your recovery. The last thing you need is to worry about paying your medical expenses and the loss of your income. You would greatly benefit from having a compassionate, competent and aggressive advocate on your side to help make sure you receive all of the benefits to which you have the right.

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