Health Care Worker Injuries
The CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) statistics reveal that healthcare is one of the fastest growing sectors of the United States economy. It employs more than 18 million workers to date. In fact, women represent more than 80% of this workforce. Healthcare workers experience a number of dangers on the job such as toxic exposure, sharp injuries, back injuries, fires, latex allergy, stress, and workplace violence. The CDC further states that cases of nonfatal occupational injuries with healthcare employees are among the highest in any industrial sector.
Causes Of Health Care Worker Injuries
Here are the main causes of injuries in the health care sector:
Patient Handling – Many health care workers have suffered injuries while manually lifting patients from one location to another. With the increase in obese and morbidly obese patients, the injuries to health care workers seem to increase even further.
Repetitive Stress – Health care workers are more than seven times likely to suffer from orthopedic injuries compared to any other industry. This was revealed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants are the group of employees who have the highest risk in this regard.
Sharp Injuries – Health care industry workers are required to handle needles and other sharp instruments. These instruments can cause punctures and wounds quite easily.
Workplace Violence – OSHA states that health care workers are at a higher risk of being assaulted on the job. These workers are caring for the mentally ill and violent criminals. Hence, the risk is much higher than other workers.
Slip & Fall Accidents – Liquid spills pose a higher risk of slipping and falling on the hospitals and nursing home floors. Health care workers who walk around are mostly affected by these injuries. Workers dealing with slip and fall accidents may pursue a claim for compensation.
Understaffing – This is another big issue in most nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It increases the stress levels of the workers which can result in many injuries and illnesses over time.
Types Of Injuries Sustained
Here are some of the frequent injuries suffered by hospital and nursing home workers.
Bone Fractures – Slip and fall as well as workplace violence accidents could result in bone fractures most of the time. This could happen even when a worker is transferring a patient from one location to another.
Head Injuries – Health care workers can suffer traumatic brain injuries or concussions due to falls.
Back And Neck Injuries – Health care workers can suffer from these injuries due to the demanding nature of their jobs. This can leave most of them with disabilities and chronic pain over time.
Strains and Sprains – Health care workers are more prone to such injuries than the workers of any other field. This was revealed by the OSHA recently.
Herniated Disk – A slipped or herniated disk results when the gel pads between the disks of the spine bulge or rupture. This can place pressure on the spinal cord of the person and cause pain, weakness, and numbness around the damaged disk.
Infectious Diseases – Dealing with infected persons while treating them can increase the risk of a health care worker being infected with the disease. Some of these illnesses include Hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS.