Healthcare workers operate in a relatively dangerous industry. The job itself creates numerous demands that are hard on the human body. From incredibly long shifts to the strenuous requirements of hands-on patient care, healthcare workers often find themselves in very punishing situations. Additionally, hospitals and other healthcare environments are very dangerous places to work. Healthcare workers are more likely to get injured than many other professionals working for private businesses, including construction workers.
Although the exact risks workers face depend upon the nature of their specific duties and their personal health history, some injuries are far more common than others.
Strains, sprains and other overexertion injuries
Repetitive use, sudden changes in demand and overexertion because of exceptionally heavy patients or equipment can lead to bodily injuries such as sprains and strains. Damage to connective tissue may force someone to immobilize body parts and limit their job functions for several weeks. Sprains and strains are the top cause of lost time incidents for healthcare workers and are responsible for 54% of worker injuries.
Bruises, soreness and fractures
Some workers need time off because of blunt force trauma, which leads to bruising and soreness. Bruises are the reported injury in 11% of healthcare work incidents, while soreness and pain are the main reported issue in 10% of cases. While fractures only account for 5% of injuries, they can seriously inconvenience the workers involved.
Cuts and puncture wounds
Professionals in a medical setting have to handle numerous dangerous tools and devices. Needles and scalpels can lead to someone getting cut. Not only is the physical trauma a concern, but there could be the risk of illness if the tool that leads to a cut or puncture wound already had contact with somebody else’s bodily fluids.
Repetitive stress injuries and toxic exposure are also concerns in medical environments. Workers can end up hurt due to slips and falls or because a patient becomes violent after experiencing a bad reaction to medication. Recognizing the most common causes of healthcare worker injuries can help people to stay safer on the job and to better identify when they may need to file a workers’ compensation claim.