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Common Disabling Conditions ER Technicians Face

Emergency room technicians, or ER Techs, are regularly pushed to the limit at hospitals and health care facilities. Also known as patient care technicians or nursing assistants, their primary responsibilities involve supporting nurses and other professionals with the heavy lifting, carrying, bending and stooping.

Their duties also come with a high risk of injury and illness, and below are just a few of the many challenges our ER Tech clients have faced that have led to short- and long-term disability claims.

Our ER Tech clients most frequently cite disabling conditions that originate in the:

  • Back
  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Legs
  • Mental nervous issues

We have represented countless clients whose injuries stemmed from an awkward motion, sudden patient jerk, swing or slip that, if they had been treated quickly, would have prevented the pain from impacting their entire body and preventing them from working.

How Disabling Injuries Occur

ER Techs support the nurses and medical staff by handling much of the physical labor and heavy lifting that goes into patient care. One of the most obvious and important duties is to help lift and carry heavy loads. This is not limited to boxes of paperwork or supplies.

For example, patients need to be turned or repositioned every two hours to prevent bed sores. No matter the size or weight of the patient, they need to be handled with care and that typically requires:

  • At least two people to turn, lift, or angle the patient.
  • Having the patient’s bed rise to waist-height.
  • Using proper form, which means lifting from your legs and not your back, and minimize reaching.

These techniques also apply when neutralizing a patient who may be agitated or combative. Incorrect or sudden movements can cause serious debilitating injuries. What may seem minor at the time can have long-term impacts, if our front-line medical staff isn’t treated appropriately.

The ER Techs also perform vital — though not-so-glamorous — tasks such as changing and replacing soiled sheets, collecting urine samples and transporting patients. They are just as susceptible to injury and illness while performing these routines if workplaces are not safe. This means everything from clean floors to adequate medical equipment and waste disposal. Without proper and regular hospital maintenance, nurses and ER Techs are highly susceptible to slips, falls and potential needlesticks.

Contracting Illnesses

ER Techs are just as prone to illness as anyone else in a hospital setting. Before 2020, mask wearing was not as prevalent and ER Techs were exposed to many variations of the flu and other contagious diseases and illnesses. An ER Tech is required to work onsite, so telecommuting is not an option.

Being diagnosed with a long-term illness, like the flu or COVID-19, may qualify as a short- or long-term illness that would result in a disability claim, since it would require the tech to stay away from the worksite until medically cleared to return.

Todays ER Techs and nurses handle a large share of the physical labor in and around the hospital but are also responsible for the paperwork. Its no wonder with so much to do, ER Techs are asked to pitch in for the heavy lifting. With hospitals and facilities experiencing a surge of new patients, ER Techs are in high demand but face a proportionately higher risk for disabling injuries and illness.

The award-winning individual and nationally renowned group long-term disability attorneys at DarrasLaw offer free disability policy analysis and free claim consultation to determine whether your individual or group policy entitles you to short and/or long-term disability benefits. If you are suffering from any type of mental or physical injury or illness that prevents you from performing the important duties of your occupation, or your insurance carrier says you can do other work, call us today at (800) 898-7299 or contact us online.


DarrasLaw is Americas' most honored and decorated disability litigation firm in the country. Mr. Darras has seen more, evaluated more, litigated more, and resolved more individual and group long term disability and long-term care cases than any other lawyer in the United States.

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