More workers are injured in the healthcare and social assistance industry sector than any other. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the likelihood of injury or illness resulting in days away from work is higher in hospitals than in construction and manufacturing—two industries that are traditionally thought to be relatively hazardous.
What are the Hazards?
Part of the reason for this is that healthcare workers are exposed to many additional hazards, including bloodborne pathogens and biological hazards, potential chemical and drug exposures, waste anesthetic gas exposures, respiratory hazards, ergonomic hazards from lifting and repetitive tasks, laser hazards, workplace violence, hazards associated with laboratories, and radioactive material and x-ray hazards. Healthcare workers are often also exposed to chemicals such as formaldehyde, ethylene oxide, glutaraldehyde, paracetic acid, and numerous other chemicals used in healthcare laboratories.
Who is Affected?
Healthcare workers can encounter hazards in a variety of settings: hospitals, clinics, dental offices, out-patient surgery centers, birthing centers, emergency medical care, home healthcare, and nursing homes. And it’s not just doctors, nurses, and assistants who are affected. Aids, orderlies, attendants, mechanical maintenance, medical equipment maintenance, housekeeping, food service, building and grounds maintenance, laundry, and administrative staff all have the potential to encounter safety hazards.
What are the Costs?
Hospitals pay a high price when employees get injured on the job. Hospitals are experience the cost of workers’ compensation for lost wages and medical costs, temporary staffing, backfilling, and overtime when injured employees miss work, turnover costs when an injured employee quits, and decreased productivity and morale.
If you have questions about how to make your facility safer, feel free to get in touch and we’ll schedule a time to talk.