Feds Focus on Reduction of Injuries Among Hospital Workers
Hospitals are among the most dangerous workplaces in the country, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, though the risks are often overlooked.
Federal officials have launched initiatives to prevent injuries among hospital workers.
Hospitals are among the most hazardous places to work. In 2019, hospitals recorded 221,400 work-related injuries and sicknesses, or 5.5 injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time employees. This rate is almost twice as high compared to the private sector as a whole.
You don’t normally think of a sterile, efficient hospital as the scene of accidents and illnesses among workers.
The risks faced by hospital workers include:
- Lift and strain injuries
- Slips and falls
- Needle sticks
- Infections from close contact with infected patients
- Injuries from violent or combative patients
It is not uncommon for hospital workers to prioritize the safety of patients over everything else, including their own health. Due to this, many go above and beyond the call of duty to care for patients, which puts their own safety and health at risk. Musculoskeletal injuries are a particular hazard for healthcare workers who frequently lift and move patients and perform repetitive tasks.
Workplace safety in a hospital must be taken seriously. Injured nurses, doctors, and other medical personnel cannot care for patients effectively. And those who contract a hospital-acquired infection or any other illness may transmit the infection to a weakened patient.
There Is a High Cost Associated With Injuries and Illnesses
The costs hospitals incur when an employee is injured are workers’ compensation for lost wages and medical costs, temporary staffing, backfilling, overtime when an employee misses work, and turnover when an employee quits.
Patient Care Is Also Affected by Workplace Safety
Caregivers can be injured during manual lifting, and patients may suffer from falls, fractures, bruises, and skin tears. Infections and medication errors are linked to caregiver fatigue, injury, and stress.
A comprehensive, proactive safety and health management plan is one of the most effective ways to reduce workplace hazards and injuries. A safety and health management system identifies and fixes workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness to employees.
As a result of implementing safety and health management systems, you will protect your workers, save money, and improve the effectiveness of your hazard-specific programs.
The improvement in the quality of patient care can also be attributed to prioritizing safety in the hospital environment. These systems have already been implemented effectively in various ways by leading hospitals.
Safer patient handling programs can minimize the risk of musculoskeletal injuries and reduce the number of days off work that result. Federal officials also call on hospitals to implement safety and health management systems specifically targeted at protecting workers and improving the quality of patient care.
Nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses are common in hospitals.
In 2020, U.S. hospitals recorded nearly three times (7.6) the number of work-related injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time employees, compared with 2.7 per 100 full-time employees across all U.S. industries.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can be reduced by safe patient handling programs. Injury reduction helps workers as well as patients and the bottom line.
Having the right data, evidence, examples, and tools are important when developing or refining a safe patient handling program to protect employees and patients.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides online resources to help hospitals develop and implement safe patient handling assessments, policies, procedures, programs, training, and patient education.
There is a serious risk of workplace violence for healthcare workers in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare settings. Several factors contribute to this risk, including working with violent, hysterical, or drugged people.
On average, there were more than four times as many serious workplace violence incidents in healthcare from 2002 to 2013 as in private industry. There are nearly as many serious violent injuries in healthcare as in all other industries combined. There are many more assaults and threats that go unreported.
There is a high cost associated with workplace violence, but it can be prevented. Healthcare facilities can use OSHA’s resources to develop and implement comprehensive workplace violence programs.
If you are a healthcare employee injured on the job, contact us today for a free case consultation.