Working in health care is rewarding. Ironically, health care workers often get hurt while they help others heal. Below you will find a list of the most common risks to health care workers.
By far the most common injury reported in the health care sector is back-related injuries and strains. Learning proper lifting techniques and knowing the risks goes a long way in helping you avoid injury. You can reduce the number and severity of back-related injuries by using safe work practices and the transfer, lift, and reposition protocol that is appropriate for each patient or client.
In Canada, some sixty thousand workers get injured annually due to slip, trip and fall accidents. Workers in the health care sector are at high risk for these types of injuries. Most of these injuries are avoidable, which is why it’s important that workers know the best prevention tips for fall prevention.
Violence in the health care workplace differs from violence experienced by workers in other industries. Health care workers must interact closely with their patients and their families, often under difficult circumstances. Patients may act aggressively due to their medical condition or the medication they are taking. They may also have a history of violent behaviour, or feel frustrated and angry as a result of their circumstances.
What is considered workplace violence?
Most people think of workplace violence as a physical assault, however violence in the workplace includes a much broader variety of problems. Violence in the workplace is characterized as any act in which a person is abused, threatened, intimidated or harassed in his or her place of employment. Workplace violence includes:
- threatening behaviour –such as shaking fists, destroying property or throwing objects
- verbal or written threats
- harassment – any action, word or gesture that embarrasses, humiliates, frightens, intimidates, or bullies
- verbal abuse
- physical attacks – hitting, shoving, pushing or kicking
Violence in the workplace can have long-term effects on the victim. Creating a policy against workplace violence is essential for keeping workers safe while on the job.
Within health care, hand injuries are the second highest injury with an average of over 600 injuries per year. Here are a few tips about hand safety when working with needles to avoid cuts:
- Ensure safe work procedures are followed correctly
- Wear the proper personal protection equipment (PPE)
- Have clear communication between other health care professionals
- Always dispose sharp objects correctly into the biohazardous bin
For more information on hand safety, please go to the following link: Hand and Fingers.
Health Care workers and employers are exposed to harmful substances and environments nearly every day on the job as they deal with all types of patients. Over 400 injuries are reported due to exposure to harmful substances per year. To learn more about preventing injuries from harmful substances go to the following link: www.worksafebc.com/healthcare.