If you are a healthcare worker, you already know how demanding and difficult your job can be. In fact, a hospital is one of the most dangerous places to work. Even if you don’t work in a hospital, healthcare work can be dangerous. The most common injuries healthcare workers suffer from include:
- Back and neck injuries. These injuries generally result from overexertion and repetitive stress. They are usually a type of muskuloskeletal injury, which means the worker has pain combined with numbness and tingling. Overexertion injuries are the largest share of hospital work comp claims in the U.S. and result in the most missed days of work. Other back and neck injuries include slipped or herniated discs and may result in back surgery.
- Sprains and strains. Overexertion can also cause sprains and strains. They affect nurses, aids, orderlies and paramedics the most, as these workers transfer patients, which requires bending, heavy lifting and sudden movements.
- Violence. Healthcare is the number one industry for assaults against workers that do not result in death, especially at nursing and personal care facilities. Emergency departments and psychiatric facilities are also particularly dangerous for nursing staff.
- Slips, trips and falls. This category of injuries can result in fractures, bruising or sprains. Hospitals and clinics can have slippery floors and fast-moving people, a recipe for danger.
- Cuts and incisions. Healthcare workers work with sharp objects every day. Even the most careful worker can have an accident with a needle or surgical instrument.
- Exposure to illness. When you work with sick people, you will simply be more exposed to illness. Since you cannot avoid it, the best you can do is wash your hands, keep your immunizations up to date and wear your personal protective equipment.
Looking out for yourself
Work-related injuries and illness in the health field can result in surgeries, missed work and mental and emotional distress. They can even end a career early. Most of the time, they are unavoidable and not the employee’s fault. Rather, they are conditions of the workplace due to understaffing, over-worked shifts, and inadequate equipment. Don’t be afraid to speak up and don’t forget to take care of yourself when you are sick, tired or injured.