When people think of the medical field, they generally think of the people who diagnose, treat and care for those with wide-ranging illnesses and injuries. Due to the nature of the work they perform, few consider that health care workers face significant injury risks on the job.
Those in the health care industry may benefit from knowing the risks they face, as well as some options for protecting themselves.
Common health care worker hazards
According to Medlineplus.gov, health care workers face various occupational hazards that commonly lead to workplace injuries. Some of the most common of these include the following:
- Repetitive stress
- Exposure to infections
- Exposure to allergy- or illness-causing substances
These and other hazards that health care employees face in the workplace often lead to wide-ranging injuries or illnesses. For example, health care workers commonly suffer infections, needle sticks and pokes, muscle sprains or strains, and broken bones on the job.
Reasons for workplace injuries among health care workers
According to the Occupational Safety and health administration, numerous factors contribute to workplace hazards that commonly lead to health care worker injuries. Those working in the medical field must frequently lift or reposition heavy patients or those with limited mobility, which poses safe handling challenges. Additionally, they have the potential to come into contact with contagious patients or pathogens, or patients who may have violent outbursts.
Prevention of health care worker injuries
Taking some small steps helps health care facilities and workers avoid some occupational injuries and illnesses. For instance, some things that facility operators may do to aid in this include investing in assistive equipment to help with lifting heavy patients or implementing minimal lifting policies.
When those working in the health care field suffer occupational injuries, they may have the entitlement to receive workers’ compensation benefits. These typically include benefits such as coverage of the associated medical expenses and partial wage replacement.