Blog June 2019

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High Risks for Healthcare Workers

Posted On: June 28, 2019

High Risks for Healthcare Workers

Several studies have demonstrated that healthcare workers in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living communities and other settings are at particularly high risk for workplace violence. Workplace violence can be perpetrated by coworkers and even strangers, but in the case of healthcare workers, “80 percent of serious violent incidents…were caused by interactions with patients.”[1]

According to an OSHA report, “from 2002 to 2013, incidents of serious workplace violence (those requiring days off for the injured worker to recuperate) were four times more common in healthcare than in private industry on average.”[2] Similarly, the American Nurses Association reported that, “21 percent of registered nurses and nursing students reported being physically assaulted—and over 50 percent verbally abused—in a 12-month period”[3] According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychiatric aides are at highest risk for workplace violence within this high risk group: “(f)or psychiatric aides, the rate is 69 times higher than the national rate of violence in the workplace, and for psychiatric technicians it is 38 times higher.”[4]

Workplace violence remains underreported, partially due “to a health care culture that is resistant to the belief that providers are at risk for patient-initiated violence and to a complacency in thinking that violence is “part of the job.”[5] While healthcare workers are often reluctant to report incidents of workplace violence since they feel responsible for their patients, it is important that they report the incidents for several reasons. First, reporting ensures that employers have enough information about incidents to enact safety measures. Second, if a healthcare worker needs treatment, whether physical or psychological, either immediately or down the line, it is important that the employer has been notified of the violent incident. This way the healthcare worker can receive compensation for any lost time and the necessary medical treatment they need.

If you are a healthcare worker and have a work-related injury or illness, contact the law office of Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn for your free consultation. 



[1] https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3826.pdf

[2] https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3826.pdf

[3] American Nurses Association. 2014. American Nurses Association Health Risk Appraisal (HRA): Preliminary Findings October 2013–October 2014.

[4] https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2015/article/a-look-at-violence-in-the-workplace-against-psychiatric-aides-and-psychiatric-technicians.htm

[5] Phillips, James Patrick, “Workplace Violence against Health Care Workers in the United States” New England Journal of Medicine · April 2016

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Social media surveillance

Posted On: June 10, 2019

Social media surveillance

In our digital age, social media permeates so much of our lives. We often check our social media platforms several times a day, and perhaps add a picture or comment without giving it much thought.

If you have an ongoing workers’ compensation claim, these habits can be damaging.  Your social media presence can seriously impact the success of your workers’ compensation claim. Insurance companies routinely check public social media accounts for evidence that the claimant’s injuries are not as serious as they claim.

What is the solution?

It is important to take precautionary steps and be smart with your social media presence. There are several steps you can take:

First and foremost, it is extremely important that you are honest regarding the extent of your injuries and activities you cannot perform. Similarly, you should always follow your Doctor’s orders.

Second, ensure that your social media profiles are private.  Investigators cannot impersonate someone you may know and “friend”, “add” or “request” you on your social media platforms. So, if your accounts are private, investigators will not be able to access any public information from your social media.

Third, reduce your social media presence while you have an ongoing claim. This reduces the chance that you will say or do something that might be misconstrued and negatively impact your case.

Fourth, inform your family and friends that you have an ongoing claim and that you must be very careful not to jeopardize your claim. While you can control your own social media accounts, you obviously cannot control those of others.  Investigators can use posts your family members or friends make on their public accounts. Even if you are very careful not to post potentially problematic materials on your own profiles, a video taken and posted—for example—by your cousin of you jumping on a trampoline could be damning.

Finally, consider your claim before you partake in any activities. Be conscious not to do anything that could be construed negatively by the insurance adjustor or a workers’ compensation Judge. Ask yourself, “how would this look to the insurance company or to a Judge?” and “Would this activity make my condition appear to be less serious or even non-existent?” If you are at all apprehensive when asking yourself these questions, err on the side of caution. You don’t want to do anything that could jeopardize your ability to receive the benefits you deserve.

This should relate to all aspects of your life while your claim is ongoing. In addition to social media surveillance, insurance companies also routinely collect video surveillance. While the insurance company is not allowed to harass you or follow you to your private residence, they are permitted to film you in public locations like the supermarket, train station or park.

We realize that this can be frustrating. You want to go for a short hike on vacation, or volunteer at a soup kitchen. But the logical question the insurance adjustor and Judge will ask is, “if he/she can do that, why can’t they work?”

For some examples on how social media surveillance has been used against claimants, see this this interesting infographic from an article titled “Facebook Has a New Friend: Disability Insurers” from Bloomberg News.[1]

Bloomberg News


[1] https://www.bna.com/facebook-new-friend-n73014475033/

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