No matter how many precautions they take, health care professionals face several hazards on a daily basis while doing their job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 56,000 work-related illnesses and injuries in U.S. hospitals in 2013. Here is some information about the most common workplace hazards for health care professionals.
Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens
One of the most common workplace hazards for health care professionals is exposure to bloodborne pathogens. In spite of strict guidelines for hand washing and the use of exam gloves, accidental splashes and needle sticks still occur. According to OSHA, about 5.6 million workers in the healthcare industry are at risk of being exposed to bloodborne pathogens.
The healthcare industry has higher rates of workplace injury than many other industries. Every year, nurses face about 35,000 injuries involving the feet, back, shoulders, and hands. The environment and the age of the nurse are two main factors that impact the likelihood of injury. In order to reduce the workplace injury rate, many hospitals are having nurses use tools like standing assistance aids and mobile full-body floor lifts to eliminate the need of nurses to use physical exertion.
Dermatitis Related To Hand Washing
As you know, the health care industry has very strict guidelines when it comes to hand washing. Health care professionals are taught that proper hand washing is the first line of defense against illness. Unfortunately, many health care professionals are dealing with hand washing-related dermatitis due to excess hand washing. Healthcare workers are 4.6 times more likely to suffer from skin damage. Some health care professionals have left the health care industry due to overly irritated skin from strict guidelines for hand washing. Therefore, many hospitals are looking for ways to preserve the hands and skin of health care professionals.
As we discussed last year, health care professionals in just about all sectors of the health industry suffer from high rates of work-related injuries and illnesses.