Did you know that you have less of a chance of being injured actually building a hospital than working in one? If you or a loved one is a health care professional, you’re probably not surprised by this fact, which is based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Hospital employee injury rates are exceeded only by those of people who work in nursing homes. Employees in both places face the same types of injuries. Some are related to the physical requirements of the job. Others involve acts of violence — often at the hands of patients.
What are the most common causes of health care worker injuries? One study found that the majority (almost 60%) involved overexertion. These usually were caused by moving or lifting a patient. Almost 20% involved falls caused by slipping or tripping.
Interestingly, only 30 percent of injuries directly involved a patent — like the lifting and moving injuries. However, the next more common cause of patient-involved injury was violence.
This violence isn’t always intentional. Patients with certain mental health conditions or those under the influence of drugs or alcohol can act out violently without intending to harm someone. However, health care professionals are more likely to be the victims of workplace violence than those in most other lines of work.
Many medical professionals have suffered puncture wounds or lacerations. They are often handling needles as well as scissors, scalpels and other sharp objects.
Sometimes people try to “work through” their injuries. They may feel a twinge in their back, for example, but not realize how seriously they’ve been injured until they’re in unbearable pain.
It’s always best to seek treatment right away if you believe you’ve been injured. If you need to take time away from work so that you can heal properly, don’t hesitate to seek workers’ compensation.