Written by: Patrick Sinclair, Student-at-Law
Awareness has been on the rise with respect to safety issues that frontline healthcare practitioners face in the workplace. Justice Campbell said it well in his report on the impact of SARS on Ontario’s health care system “hospitals are dangerous workplaces, like mines and factories, yet they lack the basic safety culture and workplace safety systems that have become expected and accepted for many years in Ontario mines and factories”. From unsafe working conditions to hazardous disease crises, to strain injuries, and to violence at the hands of patients, frontline healthcare providers are forced to navigate a great number of risks on a daily basis.
The Ontario government released the following statistics of the leading causes of injury to frontline healthcare providers:
- Musculoskeletaldisorders resulting from various causes (21%)
- Slips, trips, and falls (19%)
- Musculoskeletaldisorders resulting from client handling (17%)
- Exposure to hazardous biological, chemical and physical agents (16%)
- Workplace violence (11%)
- Contact with/struck by object (9%)
When a healthcare worker is injured on the job, they typically do not have a right to sue in court for compensation for the injuries they suffered. In most cases injuries sustained on the job fall under the legislative purview of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) which provides various benefits to the injured individual. The scope and amount of the benefits is case specific but the awards tend to be comparatively small and insufficient to compensate the injured worker.
In some instances, however, a healthcare worker can escape the confines of the WSIB regime. It is important to consult a lawyer to determine your legal rights.
The lawyers at McLeish Orlando LLP are available to assist and provide direction to any healthcare worker in navigating the legal process.