Hospitals present a wide array of safety risks. From potential exposure to infectious diseases to physical strain and emotional burnout, healthcare workers face unique challenges, particularly those with direct patient contact.
Ensuring a safe environment for these frontline workers involves addressing a broad spectrum of risks. Regular training, strict compliance with hygiene practices and fostering a supportive work environment can help safeguard those at the frontline of our healthcare systems. Understanding some common risks these workers face is one way to minimize some of them.
Understanding the variety of risks hospital workers face
Healthcare workers face both physical and biological hazards. Physical hazards include lifting and transferring patients, slips and falls or contact with sharp objects.
Biological hazards are associated with exposure to infectious diseases, which is particularly problematic for those with direct patient contact. In these cases, documenting what happened in extreme detail is very important because an employer’s insurance company will try to contend that the worker contracted the illness outside of the workplace. This was very common during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and having more details makes proving the illness was work-related easier.
Workplace safety for those with direct patient contact
Adherence to proper hygiene practices is non-negotiable for those in direct contact with patients. Hand hygiene is the most straightforward and effective measure to prevent healthcare-associated infections. Regular and correct use of personal protective equipment like gloves, gowns, masks and eye protection can significantly reduce the risk of disease transmission.
Safe patient handling practices, such as using mechanical lifting equipment, can significantly minimize the risk of physical injuries. Training on correctly handling and disposing of sharp objects can also prevent needlestick injuries and potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
Workers who suffer injuries at work can count on workers’ compensation. It might be necessary to fight for everything you’re due, so work with someone who understands the process.