Safety Issues in Nursing Industry | Scott Goodwin Law

Safety Issues in Nursing Industry

by / Wednesday, 15 March 2023 / Published in Workplace Woes
A row of medical professionals standing with folded arms.

Whether you’re a patient in a hospital, getting a checkup in a clinic, or receiving in-home care, nurses provide critical services. Working as a nurse can be an extremely rewarding career and it’s a job that’s in high demand. But as rewarding as it can be to know you’re making a difference in the lives of others, nurses (along with other healthcare workers) face a high risk of occupational injuries and illnesses. 

According to OSHA, hospitals in the United States reported 221,400 work-related illnesses and injuries in 2019 – and that doesn’t even include all the types of settings nurses may work in. Things got even worse in the following years. In 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that occupational injuries and illnesses in healthcare workers increased 249% in 2020. When combined, healthcare and social assistance were the two industries with the highest numbers of work-related injuries in the nation. 

Top Safety Hazards for Nurses

Illnesses & Infections

First and foremost, nurses face the risk of contracting illnesses from patients. With how much time nurses spend working in close contact with their patients, they need to be provided with adequate protective gear to help minimize the chances that they will catch airborne illnesses and other infections. 

Sharps Injuries

Being a nurse often means working with sharp tools like syringes, IVs, scalpels, and suture needles, which increases the risk of contracting a bloodborne illness like HIV and hepatitis C. Sharps injuries are extremely common among healthcare workers. The CDC estimates that approximately 385,000 injuries with contaminated needles occur every year in hospital-based healthcare workers alone.

Musculoskeletal Injuries

Nurses also frequently need to do things like work in awkward positions, move patients, and perform repetitive tasks. All of these things can lead to musculoskeletal injuries, such as back, neck, and wrist injuries. Overexertion is a major issue in healthcare workers, making it important for nurses to have access to things like lifting tools, to be trained on proper lifting techniques, and be able to get help from others when heavy lifting is involved. 

Exposure to Hazardous Materials

Beyond things like viruses and bacteria, nurses may need to be concerned about being exposed to things like harsh cleaning products, radioactive emissions from scanning machines, or radioactive chemical tracers. 


When people decide to become a nurse, they often don’t think of the possibility that they could be assaulted by one of the patients they’re supposed to take care of. But this is a far more common problem than many people realize. Patients can become aggressive for many different reasons, including dementia, mental illness, and being under medication that leaves them feeling confused. Or, in some cases, patients can simply have an aggressive nature. According to a 2022 report, more than two nurses were assaulted each hour during the second quarter of that year. 

Contact a Michigan Workplace Injury Lawyer

Being a nurse is a very difficult job, both physically and emotionally. But employers still have a responsibility to provide a work environment that is free of reasonably foreseeable safety hazards. Very often, work-related illnesses and injuries could have been prevented. 

If you’ve been injured on the job, don’t hesitate to contact a workplace injury lawyer. Working with a lawyer will help make sure your claim for workers compensation benefits is handled correctly so that you get all of the benefits you’re entitled to. At Scott Goodwin Law, we’re experienced in handling workplace accident cases. Contact us today for a free consultation and find out how we can help you.