At Silverman, McDonald & Friedman, we believe that all medical lab personnel should be able to rely on safety practices and procedures to keep them shielded from harm. Call our Delaware workers’ compensation lawyers in Newark, Wilmington, and Seaford to discuss a claim if you are injured at work.
They’re the quiet, often invisible heroes of the world of medicine. Medical lab technologists, or lab techs for short, do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to figuring out what’s ailing us. Any test that has to be conducted to rule out or pinpoint a condition is done through a medical lab run by these techs who are required to be proficient in a combination of science, technology, and medical safety protocols to be successful in their chosen field.
Hospitals and even doctors’ offices can’t run without these invaluable employees who take on risks in the ordinary course of their business. Those dangers can cause them to sustain a variety of injuries that culminate in filing a workers’ compensation claim for a healthcare workplace accident.
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What dangers do lab technicians encounter?
Improper use of or inability to wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is a substantial risk when you work in a world full of hazardous fluids and chemicals. Since the emergence of the coronavirus, PPE shortages have been rampant in the medical field multiplying the risks to medical professionals, including lab techs.
Other components to lab safety include establishing and following protocols for reducing exposure to:
- Biological agents
- Chemical reactions
- Radiological effects
Knowing what you are required to come in contact with is paramount to knowing how to gauge the protective measures you need to take to minimize your risk. If your employer has reason to believe a patient is presenting with an extraordinary airborne contagion, they have a duty to make sure medical laboratory staff (MLS) is notified. Without that knowledge, lab techs could unintentionally be placed at risk and become ill if they don’t take that appropriate measures.
Similarly, if the medical facility is made aware of an equipment failure and does nothing to remedy or warn lab techs of the problem, it could cause a serious injury for which the employer would be liable.
How could a lab tech suffer an injury?
MLS come in contact with dangerous substances due to the hands-on nature of their job, but even the most benign activity could endanger an employee. In just working at a shared computer entering test data, you would have valid concerns about unknown contamination of work surfaces during the age of COVID-19.
Other potentially dangerous activities that could cause injury or illness to a lab tech includes:
- Getting stuck with a needle while drawing a patient’s blood
- Coming in contact with a virus or disease while working up blood or other body samples
- Being out of compliance with training on current safety standards that can lead to using out of date procedures
- Improperly handling or storing chemicals, and other substances
You have rights as an employee
The good news is that employees who are injured while working within the scope of their job have a right to file a workers’ compensation claim. The bad news is that your employer knows the risks of your job at least as well as you do and knows where the potential holes are in a workplace injury claim when it comes to a high risk position.
In Delaware, employers with at least one employee are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. When it comes to employees injured in work-related accidents, fault is typically not at issue, but employers may still try to find a way around your claim. By showing you failed to follow procedure or raising some other factor they believe could mitigate their liability, an employer could succeed in having your claim dismissed because they’re counting on you not knowing how to fight back on your own.
If you have come to harm in the course of performing your job in a hospital or other medical setting, you need to seek out the attorneys who will fight hard to preserve your right to work in a safe environment and to win you the maximum compensation for your injury. You want the experienced legal representation of the trusted workers’ compensation attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman. To schedule your free case evaluation in our Wilmington, Seaford, or Newark, DE office, call 302-888-2900, or reach out to us through our contact page.