Health care workers may not seem like a group of employees who are particularly at risk for on-the-job injuries. However, the reality is that this sector is one of the most dangerous in terms of workplace injuries.
Health care workers are continuously performing certain types of tasks at work that put them at a higher risk of injury than employees in many other professions. In all cases of workplace injuries, it is important for the worker to report the injury and get the appropriate medical treatment needed. Here are three of the most serious risks that health care workers face.
1. Physical injuries
Physical injuries are one of the most common types of injuries that health care workers face on the job. These employees often have to lift heavy objects and move patients, which puts a lot of strain on their musculoskeletal system. Repeated handling of patients also causes physical injuries. Typical physical injuries for health care workers include strains and sprains, slip-and-fall injuries and repetitive stress injuries.
2. Chemical injuries
Health care workers come into contact with a wide variety of dangerous chemicals as they complete their daily tasks. Some of the chemicals are for treating patients, while others are chemicals used to disinfect surfaces or equipment. Although chemical injuries may not seem as if they could be serious, they can actually create serious workplace injuries including damage to workers' lungs or harm to a woman's reproductive system.
3. Contamination with infectious agents
Health care workers come into contact with a variety of dangerous infectious agents. These organisms include parasites, bacteria, viruses and fungi. Potential for contamination increases when patients have one of the following medical conditions:
- Hepatitis B or C
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome
Health care workers must undergo training to understand the proper procedures for working alongside infectious agents.