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What are the risks that hospital workers face on the job?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Workplace Injury |

Hospital workers care for people who are often at their sickest and those who are severely injured. These hardworking men and women provide a valuable service, but it often comes at a personal cost.

There are many hazards that hospital workers face. These include some that cause physical injuries, but also those that may lead to emotional or mental trauma. It’s up to any particular hospital system to ensure that the workplace is safe for all workers. Some of the hazards they must address effectively include the following.

Heavy lifting

Heavy lifting, including having to assist, transfer and turn patients, is a major part of working in the healthcare industry. Some hospital jobs that don’t involve direct patient care also require heavy lifting. Using proper body mechanics is critical for all workers who are lifting. Using lifts and hoists can minimize the risk of injury. When those aren’t available or aren’t feasible, team lifting is required.

Sharps sticks

Sticks from sharps, which can include scalpels and needles, are major hazards for people who deal directly with patients, as well as those who handle the biological waste and prescriptions within the hospital. Proper training on how to use specific sharps and the correct equipment to do so are critical for these workers. They should also have personal protective equipment to help reduce the risk of sticks.

Violence from patients

Violence from patients and their family members is another hazard that some hospital workers face. This can result in serious injuries, so there should be clear guidelines and protocol for handling combative patients and visitors.

Some injured healthcare workers may try to power through their shift, despite being injured. While that may seem like a good idea, it can actually cause an injury to worsen. Instead, they need to get medical attention right away. The cost of this should be covered by workers’ compensation, but some workers may need legal assistance to get the benefits they’re due. It’s critical to get the process started quickly because there are time limits that apply in these cases.