Workplace accidents that tend to grab the headlines usually involve a fatality or a catastrophic injury, like a spinal cord injury or a severe traumatic brain injury.
Many of these injuries happen at well-known dangerous job occupations, such as in industrial plans or in a logging or fishing operation, which may be one reason why these jobs are thought of as so dangerous.
However, the majority of work-related injuries do not involve fatal injuries or injuries that leave a person permanently disabled.
Viewed with this lens, it might surprise some Chicago-area residents which jobs rank among the most dangerous in the country.
Nurse’s assistants and other medical workers are frequently in harm’s way
According to data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing assistants have the highest rate of workplace accidents and illnesses which require at least one day off work.
Based on 2019 numbers, per 100,000 workers in this profession, about 275 will have to miss work because of an incident.
Illinois residents who stay caught up with the news know that nursing assistants, and medical workers generally, are frequently exposed to contagious diseases. They also can be exposed to used needles and toxins, as well as other dangerous substances and equipment.
Nursing assistants and other medical staff also have to do a lot of heavy lifting. Most often, this lifting involves moving patients. These patients may be overweight or unwilling or unable to cooperate.
Even with the right lifting technique, repeatedly moving patients who can weigh hundreds of pounds leads to various types of injuries.
While these injuries may not grab headlines, they can mean that a medical worker has to go through costly and time-consuming treatment.
They also may have to miss weeks or even months of work and may have to be reassigned to different duties when they return. Illinois’ workers’ compensation system is available to protect these people from their financial losses.