Injuries and illnesses happen in every workplace regardless of industry. However, employees who work in health care facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, testing labs, dental offices, and clinics are at an even higher risk. According to OSHA, “more workers are injured in the health care industry sector than any other.”
The main reason that health care workers experience such a high level of workplace injuries and illnesses is due to the number of hazards they face daily. For instance, the following are just a few of the safety and health hazards medical employees face daily:
As a business owner of a health care facility, it’s crucial that you have the appropriate safety measures and protection plans in place for your staff. In addition to creating a safe environment for the health care team, you should also have a workers’ compensation insurance plan available to any injured workers.
Even though health care employees face a wide range of hazards in the workplace, several injuries occur most often. For example, Unitek College lists the following five injuries as the most common for nurses and other health care workers:
Out of all the injuries a health care worker might receive, overexertion injuries are often the most common. A report conducted by BLS found that nearly half of all the injuries reported by nurses involved overexertion. As a result of overexertion, employees often find themselves at risk of suffering muscle, nerve, and joint disorders.
Medical jobs are often very labor-intensive and require team members to move patients, medical equipment and lift heavier objects throughout their shift. As a result, injuries such as wrist and ankle sprains, muscle strains, and back injuries are common.
After overexertion, injuries from falls, slips, and trips are the second largest cause of injuries in health care facilities. As medical staff move throughout a patient’s room, it can be quite easy to accidentally trip over a cord leading to a monitor or slip on a slick substance.
When people think about health care worker injuries, patient violence often isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, the truth is that nurses typically face more workplace violence than any other career—even more so than police officers and corrections officers.
In fact, according to the NIOSH, out of every 100 healthcare workers, almost 40 percent will experience either a physical assault or a non-violent event such as threats, sexual harassment, or verbal abuse.
What’s even worse is that most of the violent incidents in health care companies go unreported.
One hazard for health care workers that often goes overlooked is contact injuries. With multiple patients to care for, nurses and aids have to work quickly when giving care. This fast-paced environment can pose hazards such as coming into contact with medical equipment and sharp objects.
Of all the potential contact injuries, accidental needlesticks can pose the most significant risk. If health care workers accidentally stick themselves with a used needle, they have a chance of contracting infections and bloodborne illnesses.
Health care workers come into contact with harmful substances ranging from chemicals and medications to organic compounds and sterilants. Regardless of which substance it is, each can be dangerous for team members, especially if inhaled or it comes into contact with the skin.
As the owner of a health care facility, it’s crucial that you focus on your staff as much as you do your patients. Some hospitals and care facilities often only worry about patient happiness and, as a result, unintentionally create an unsafe environment for their employees.
Here are 10 safety tips that will help create a safe working environment and cut down on workplace injuries in your health care facility.
Implementing some or all of the above safety tips into your organization is a great first step to protecting your employees. However, no matter how much you try to prevent incidents from occurring, odds are a workplace accident will happen at your health care facility. When it does, having workers’ comp insurance can help cover your employee’s medical costs and lost wages.
Thanks for reading! Please note that this content is intended for educational purposes only. As best practices change regularly, you should refer to your trusted advisor for specific counsel. If you’re a small business owner, learn more about workplace safety or check your workers’ comp rate in 3 minutes.