According to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a hospital is the most dangerous place to work. Statistics show that hospital workplace injury rates are double of that in the private industry, and are higher than construction and manufacturing, which are considered very hazardous places to work. Hospital workers are at great risk for injuries and illnesses because of the unique challenges they face.
Nurses and hospital staff must reposition and lift patients who may be immobile. Furthermore, heavier patients may create challenges for proper handling. Hospital staff are also at risk for infections and illnesses from contagious patients, and they must safely handle needles and other sharp instruments that may carry blood-borne pathogens. In some cases, violent patients may attack or threaten the safety of hospital workers, putting them at risk for injuries.
5 common types of hospital workplace injuries include:
- Muscle and ligament sprains and strains
- Bruising and soreness
- Puncture wounds
- Cuts or lacerations
Hospital employees also suffer a variety of common illnesses. These include skin disorders, bacterial infections, viruses, and respiratory conditions. These injuries and illnesses are common to employees of general medical hospitals. However, they also occur at surgical hospitals, specialty hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, substance abuse hospitals, and other healthcare environments. Physicians, registered nurses, nursing aids, lab technicians, and other staff and practitioners are at risk for these injuries and illnesses because of their contact with violent, sick, or immobile patients.
The Majority of Hospital Workplace Injuries Are Caused By Overexertion
In one study conducted by OSHA, overexertion and bodily reaction injuries accounted for nearly 50% of all hospital workplace injuries. Hospital workers must bend down, lift heavy loads, and twist and reach in repetitive motions on a daily basis. Handling patients who are overweight can also pose additional challenges to hospital workers. Muscle or ligament strains and sprains are some of the most common types of hospital workplace injuries, and hospital caregivers must exercise caution to avoid a serious injury.
How to Avoid a Hospital Workplace Injury
As a hospital worker, you can’t escape the hazards of dealing with heavy or violent patients. However, there are steps your employer can take to increase your safety and well-being. This involves providing the right equipment to help you lift and transfer patients without hurting your back, joints, or muscles. Furthermore, employers must provide adequate safety training to all workers, and must provide patient assessment tools. Management and hospital leadership must also identify hazardous conditions and take steps to prevent and control them.
If you are injured, or you have suffered an illness from working at a hospital, you have the right to pursue compensation. Our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys have guided numerous hospital workers to successful settlements. We will analyze your situation and walk you through the process. Call us today at (770) 629-9321 to receive a free consultation.