Working in a place where people go to get well, many assume hospital workers face few risks on the job. However, numerous occupational hazards contribute to a high rate of work-related injuries among those employed in such settings.
Understanding the potential hazards that they face in the workplace may help some hospital employees avoid accidents that lead to serious occupational injuries.
According to the Occupational Safety Health Administration, overexertion accounts for numerous workplace injuries among healthcare workers in hospital settings. Nurses, aides, technicians and others often help adjust, lift and otherwise move patients. This commonly leads to musculoskeletal injuries such as sprains and strains.
Feeling an obligation to put their patients first, hospital workers sometimes leverage their own safety to aid those in their care. For instance, a nurse may try alone to move a patient in discomfort, potentially putting himself or herself at risk for a strain injury.
Hospital workers face various contagious hazards in the workplace. Patients may have contagious conditions, or they sometimes come into contact with sharp devices or other bloodborne pathogens. For example, getting stuck with a needle used to draw blood from a patient with HIV exposes them to the human immunodeficiency virus.
According to the New York State Nurses Association, violence in the workplace impacts those in the health care field at a 20 percent higher rate than all other jobs. Violent interactions sometimes occur between medical professionals and patients or upset family members.
Hospital workers who suffer injuries on the job often have entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits. As insurance coverage provided by their employers, this often covers things such as their medical costs and partial wage replacement.