Health care workers suffer due to work-related assaults

When most people in California think of job-related injuries, they often think of harm caused by falls or equipment malfunctions. Unfortunately, a very real threat to many workers across the country is from assaults that occur on the job. Specifically, reports indicate that health care workers are the victims of the majority of work-related assaults.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, health care workers are the victims of approximately 75% of on-the job attacks. In fact, these workers reported over 730,000 assaults from 2009 to 2013, a number that is believed to be too low due to underreporting. These workers have reportedly been bitten, shot, kicked and shoved; some attacks resulted in fatalities.

Further reports indicate that the incidence of such violence has risen over 60% over a 10-year period. Some hypothesis that this increase is the result of increasing drug use, specifically opioids and heroin, as well as an increase in issues related to behavioral health. One politician claims that health care workers "did not sign up for" this sort of treatment.

Despite the high incidents of these attacks against health care workers, there is no federal law that requires that the incidents be prevented or reported or detailing what action should be taken following an assault; however, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would address some of these issues if signed into law. While this law would work to predict and prevent work-related assaults, victims in California and across the country are often left to recover from both the physical and mental ramifications of such an attack. Though they may be entitled to workers' compensation insurance benefits, they may be unsure of what would constitute a fair settlement, prompting them to ask an experienced professional for guidance.

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