Common Workplace Injuries in Healthcare Employees
Working in healthcare can be very difficult. Not only is the work itself very challenging, there’s also the fact that healthcare employees can face many safety hazards on the job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ten occupations accounted for 38.3% of all workplace injuries and illnesses among private industry employees in 2020 that required days away from work and the top three were in healthcare: nursing assistants, licensed practical and vocational nurses, and registered nurses. While some of those cases can be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, injuries among many types of healthcare workers were extremely common long before the pandemic began.
Musculoskeletal Injuries & Overexertion
In addition to the risks of contracting contagious illnesses from patients, working in a hospital can be very physically demanding. Nurses often need to lift, reposition, and move patients which, if not done with assistance like lifting tools or help from other nurses, can potentially lead to injuries, especially when done multiple times per day. Nurses may also often have to work while in awkward, uncomfortable positions, which can lead to musculoskeletal injuries.
Slip & Fall Accidents
It can be very easy to slip and fall while working in a hospital. Floors are often wet from being cleaned and when people are washing their hands or other items in sinks, it’s easy for water to get splashed onto the floor where it can be slipped on.
Needles are a common sight in healthcare facilities, but it’s very common for workers to end up being injured by them, putting them at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Sometimes, this happens when patients are uncooperative and combative while a medical professional is trying to draw blood or inject medication. Needlesticks can also occur if a person falls while carrying a needle or if needles are not properly disposed of.
Sanitation is a critical part of hospital operations, but many products used for sterilization, including ethylene oxide, glutaraldehyde, bleach, can be harmful if proper precautions aren’t taken to protect the employees who need to work with them. In addition to those types of products, other chemical hazards employees might face include formaldehyde, exposure to surgical smoke, and waste anesthetic gasses. For some people, latex may be considered a hazard if an allergy is involved.
Unfortunately, violence is an all-too common risk for healthcare workers. Sometimes, patients act in unpredictable ways and become hostile if they’re under the influence of drugs/medication or are being treated for mental health conditions. In other cases, a patient might become aggressive in reaction to receiving upsetting news. Or, in other cases, healthcare workers need to deal with the families of patients who act in hostile ways.
Contact a Workplace Injury Lawyer
It’s never acceptable for a workplace to be unnecessarily dangerous. It’s important for employers to take appropriate measures to make sure a work environment is as safe as possible. If you’ve been injured on the job, don’t hesitate to contact a workplace injury lawyer to make sure you receive all the compensation you need while you recover. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we’ve helped many people who have been in your shoes. Contact us today for help with your case.