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Are hospitals more dangerous for employees?

Healthcare workers do everything within their power to keep their patients healthy and safe, sometimes at their own expense. For this reason, hospitals are considered one of the most dangerous places to work.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, hospitals recorded workplace-related illnesses and injuries at almost twice the rate of private industry. In fact, in terms of lost-time cases, hospitals are more hazardous workplace environments than working in construction or manufacturing. Lost-time cases are typically the more severe injuries, as milder injuries tend to be ones where an employee can continue working on modified duty.

How do hospital workers get injured?

Nearly half, 48 percent, of all workplace injuries in hospitals are due to overexertion or bodily reaction. This includes lifting, bending or reaching.

Hospital workers must make snap decisions to help their patients and often feel they have a duty to “do no harm,” which puts their own health and safety at risk and leads to personal harm. They also spend a large portion of their shifts lifting, repositioning and transferring patients.

Other typical injuries include:

  • Slips, trips and falls – 25 percent
  • Contact with small objects – 13 percent
  • Violence – 9 percent
  • Exposures to substances – 4 percent

All other causes of injury make up the final one percent.

Of all the injuries that result in days away from work, sprains and strains account for 54 percent. Many of these injuries are considered repetitive stress injuries, which are caused by repeat use. These conditions can develop over a long period of time and result in missed days at work.

While healthcare workers’ dedication to their patients is commendable, these employees should still be aware of their own medical needs and ensure they are treating their own bodies as well as they would treat a patient. That includes seeking medical care for any injuries.

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