Working in a hospital setting comes with its own unique set of hazards. Hospitals have a duty to provide a safe environment for their workers, but this isn’t always what happens.
It is important for hospital workers to be aware of these hazards so that they can take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their patients. Understanding these three general types of hazards can be especially beneficial.
Physical hazards are some of the most common hazards that hospital workers face. These include exposure to infectious diseases. Injuries can also stem from slips, trips, falls, lifting patients or equipment and violence from patients or visitors. Proper use of personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks, wearing slip-resistant shoes, using proper lifting techniques and training on how to de-escalate situations can help prevent these types of accidents and injuries.
Chemical hazards are another risk that hospital workers face. These include exposure to hazardous chemicals that are used for cleaning patient rooms or the equipment used to care for those patients. Proper handling and disposal of these chemicals, as well as the use of appropriate PPE, is crucial for preventing exposure and injury. The material safety data sheets for all chemicals should be readily available for anyone who uses them so they can practice safe handling.
Biological hazards are another common risk for hospital workers. These include exposure to bloodborne pathogens and prevention and treatment of needlestick injuries. Proper use of PPE and following standard precautions can help prevent exposure. It is also important to receive training on how to handle needles and other sharp objects safely and to follow all safety procedures when working with them.
Hospital employees who are injured should seek out immediate medical care. Sometimes, these professionals may try to finish out a shift before they get care for themselves. Unfortunately, this usually isn’t a good idea because it can lead to worsened injuries for the worker, and it can negatively impact patients. Any hospital employee who suffers an injury can seek legal guidance to more effectively file a claim for workers’ compensation immediately.