Medical Care for Injured Prison Workers
Across the country, more than 500,000 correctional officers report to work each day, providing the vital service of watching over and protecting the population of our nation’s prisons, jails, and correctional facilities. Because their job involves working beside convicted criminals, many of whom have records of violence, and because their job involves a unique working environment, prison workers face a specific set of hazards and suffer from a special set of injuries.
According to recent research conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, correctional officers have one of the highest rates of non-fatal on-the-job injuries that result in missed days of work. In fact, according to 2011 data, correctional officers were four times more likely to become injured at work than the average employee, and correctional officers experienced 544 work-related injuries or illnesses per 10,000 full-time employees over the course of the year.
At Work Injury MD, we are committed to helping injured workers, including correctional officers, recover from their ailments and return to work feeling strong, healthy, and pain-free. We offer a full range of medical services and are headed by a board-certified doctor who works in pain management. Because we only see injured workers, we are uniquely able to connect with our patients, diagnose their conditions, and help them along the road to recovery and health.
We help employees of:
- State prisons
- Federal prisons
- Correctional facilities
- City jails and county jails
- Detention centers
- Juvenile detention facilities
We see correctional facility workers who work for private companies and have Texas workers’ compensation, as well as correctional facility workers who work for the government and are a part of the Department of Labor Office of Workers’ Compensation Program (OWCP).
Whether you have not yet seen a doctor, or whether you are getting a second opinion after seeking help for a work-related injury, we want to help you. To schedule a consultation with our doctor, or to ask us a question about your on-the-job injury, contact us today.
Common Causes Of Injury For Texas Prison Workers
Because they work in correctional facilities, and because they work in the vicinity of prisoners, prison workers are susceptible to a specific set of injuries, accidents, and incidents. For example, the leading causes of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for prison workers are assaults and violent acts – a problem that is not faced by many other types of workers in other industries. Here are the top five most common causes of injury for correctional center workers, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health:
- Assaults and violent acts. Even with a plethora of safety measures in place to keep prisoners from escaping and correctional officers out of harm’s way, inmate violence toward prison employees remains a serious problem. In fact, between 1999 and 2008, 40 percent of all fatal correctional facility accidents and 38 percent of all non-fatal correctional facility accidents involved inmate assault and violence. These incidents can result in injuries as mild as a contusion or cut and as serious as a traumatic brain injury or internal injuries.
- Repetitive stress injuries and overexertion. Correctional officers are not just faced with the danger of inmates, they are also injured by the day-to-day physical stresses of their jobs. For example, officers often must slide heavy metal prison doors open and shut throughout their shift, a repetitive motion that can cause tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck problems, and back problems. They must also engage in heavy lifting, extensive walking, and other physical tasks, all of which can lead to overexertion and overuse injuries. Overexertion makes up 20 percent of all non-fatal prison worker injuries.
- Falls. From 1999 to 2008, fall represented about 14 percent of all fatal jail worker accidents and about 18 percent of all non-fatal jail worker accidents. Falls can happen from a height – such as down stairs or from a balcony – resulting in very serious blunt force trauma, or falls can happen simply from slipping on a wet surface or loose tile, resulting in more minor injuries. However, even simply trip and falls can mean serious back injuries, neck injuries, and head injuries that may require surgery, medication, physical therapy, and long-term care.
- Contact with objects and equipment. About 18 percent of non-fatal prison worker injuries are caused by contact with objects and equipment. This could involve being struck by a falling object, such as a ring of keys or filing cabinet, or being harmed by machinery or equipment. These accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries, from hand and wrist injuries to leg and knee injuries.
- Transportation accidents. A shocking 40 percent of prison worker fatalities are due to transportation injuries, such as when a prison bus crashes, or when a worker is struck by a vehicle while on the job. Prison workers are not always on the cell block or in an office – a significant number of correctional officers spend time either in motor vehicles or around motor vehicles. Like all other jobs that involve transportation, car and bus accidents are a large source of accidents and injuries.
These five top causes of correctional officer injuries are not nearly the only types of causes of correctional officer harm. At Work Injury MD, we can help you with treatment and recovery – no matter the cause of your work-related injury.
Common Types Of On-The-Job Injuries Suffered By Dallas Jail Employees
Some types of injuries are more common in correctional officers than in other types of Texas workers. These injuries include:
- Head injuries. For correctional officers, head injuries are common in falls, physical assaults, and motor vehicle accidents. These injuries can range from a mild concussion sustained in a slip and fall accident to a gunshot wound that results in a traumatic brain injury.
- Back injuries and neck injuries. Back and neck injuries may be the result of an acute injury, such as a fall, or the result of overexertion, such as too much lifting. Back and neck injuries can cause extreme pain and make prison workers unable to report to their jobs for days, weeks, or even months.
- Hand and wrist injuries. Correctional officers should be wary of repetitive motion and overuse injuries to their wrists and hands, especially since they open and close heavy doors throughout their day, handle heavy equipment, and transport prisoners. Problems like carpal tunnel and tendonitis are common and should be treated quickly and early.
- Foot and ankle injuries. Prison guards and correctional officers spend a lot of time on their feet, so it is no surprise that foot and ankle injuries are common, from acute injuries like sprains and fractures, to chronic issues like plantar fasciitis and tendonitis.
- Internal injuries. Internal injuries are common in situations involving physical assault and inmate violence. These injuries may also occur in serious falls from a height and in work-related motor vehicle accidents. Internal injuries can include ruptured organs, bruised or cracked ribs, and internal bleeding. These injuries need immediate medical attention.
How Work Injury MD Helps Injured Prison Workers
We are a full-range medical clinic that offers injured workers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area everything they need to get back on their feet and get back to work. Schedule a consultation with our staff physician to start back on the path to a healthy, pain-free life.
Our clinic offers:
- Diagnostic testing
- Acute care
- Chronic pain program
We believe in a treatment plan that begins with the most conservative approaches (non-invasive treatments and over-the-counter medication) that then build to more aggressive approaches, as needed (steroid injections, prescription medications, and surgery). We also believe in treatment plans that don’t only heal the current injury, but prevent future injuries by restoring range of motion and strength, and confronting ongoing safety issues in the workplace. Each of our treatment plans are individually tailored for the patient and his or her needs.
Schedule A Consultation At Our Injured Worker Medical Clinic Today
Far too many correctional officers continue to work despite chronic pain and injuries, including hand, wrist, back, neck, and foot injuries. It is vitally important to report all of these work-related chronic injuries, file a workers’ compensation claim, and get the medical attention you need. At the same time, each year thousands of correctional officers suffer accidents and assaults while on the job that require acute, short-term care. The injuries resulting from these accidents and assaults often need medical attention as soon as possible, as well as a treatment plan that moves the patient as close to full recovery as possible.
At Work Injury MD, we understand that losing your health because of your occupation can be stressful, overwhelming, painful, and even angering. We are here to help you every step of the way, from finding the most accurate diagnosis for your symptoms to creating a treatment plan that is right for your injury, career, and life.
We want to hear from you. We invite you to fill out our short contact form, located on our Contact Us page.