Professionals like nurses and physicians go into medicine because they want to help others. What many aspiring medical professionals don’t realize is that working in a hospital is even more dangerous than working in construction.
According to worker safety information provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, hospital employees are more likely in any given year to get hurt on the job and require time off than construction workers, people who work in factories and employees across all private industries.
There may be countless ways for workers to get hurt in hospitals, but there are actually just four risk factors responsible for 95% of all lost-time injuries in hospitals.
1) Violence is a consistent concern in medical settings
Kind and gentle people aren’t the only ones to experience medical emergencies. Those with mental health issues or violent criminal pasts also require medical care.
Staff members face risk when they care for criminals, those under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and even those experiencing psychiatric episodes or dementia later in life. 9% of all worker injuries in hospitals relate to violent events.
2) Contact with objects can leave workers hurt
Another 13% of hospital injuries occur when a worker accidentally contacts something they should not. Examples of this could include a sharps incident, where a medical professional jabs oneself with a needle that has already been used in patient care. Touching defibrillators could also lead to severe injury due to electrocution. There are many dangerous items in hospitals that can easily hurt staff members.
3) Falls are a risk on the job even without stairs
Another 25% of workplace injuries for hospital workers stem from slips, trips and falls. Sometimes workers fall from heights, but many of these incidents involve someone falling at ground level and not from any significant elevation. Even a slip-and-fall could lead to broken bones and weeks of recovery.
4) Medical workers push themselves too hard
The top cause of injury in medical settings is overexertion or bodily reaction. Trying to lift heavy patients or otherwise pushing past the limits of the body can result in severe injuries that require surgery, convalescent leave and physical therapy. Overexertion causes 48% of hospital worker injuries.
These four risks account for 19 out of every 20 hospital injuries. Exposure to substances and other issues account for the remaining 5%. Regardless of what causes the issue, workers hurt in the medical environment can typically file workers’ compensation claims for lost wages and medical care.