The health care sector in California provides needed services to the state’s population. However, it is also an industry where workplace injuries are unfortunately common.
Learn more about some of the prevalent workplace injuries that health care professionals often encounter.
1. Patient Handling Injuries
Health care workers, including nurses and orderlies, frequently experience injuries related to patient handling. The act of lifting and moving patients can lead to strains, sprains and musculoskeletal disorders. These injuries happen because of the physical demands associated with caring for patients.
2. Needlestick Injuries
Needlestick injuries pose a significant risk to health care professionals. Accidental needle pricks can expose them to infectious diseases. Nurses and medical technicians who frequently work with needles and syringes face a higher likelihood of encountering these injuries. Despite precautions, the risk of contracting illnesses from patients remains a concern, especially during outbreaks and pandemics.
3. Slip and Fall Accidents
Health care facilities can have busy and potentially hazardous environments. Wet floors, cluttered hallways or uneven surfaces can result in slip-and-fall accidents, leading to fractures, head injuries and sprains.
4. Violence and Assault
Violence and assault are concerns in health care settings, particularly in emergency departments and psychiatric units. Health care professionals may face verbal abuse, physical assaults or confrontations with agitated patients or their family members, resulting in injuries.
5. Chemical Exposure
Handling hazardous chemicals, medications and cleaning agents is a common task in health care. Accidental exposure to these substances can lead to chemical burns, respiratory issues and skin conditions.
6. Ergonomic Strain
Health care professionals often spend extended periods on their feet, which can cause ergonomic strain and fatigue. This can contribute to musculoskeletal problems like back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
According to the National Library of Medicine, the national injury rate for all health care professions is 34.1 per 1000 workers. To reduce these workplace injury risks within California’s health care industry, both employers and employees must prioritize safety measures.
Employers should offer proper training in patient handling techniques, establish safety protocols for handling hazardous substances and implement security measures to prevent violence. Workers should adhere to safety guidelines, use personal protective equipment and promptly report safety concerns.