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Nurses face significant injury risks on every shift

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

Nurses provide valuable services for the general public. They care for people who are sick or injured at a time when those patients are most vulnerable. While they’re caring for others, they’re also facing some significant hazards.

Hospitals (and other healthcare facilities and service providers) must ensure that nurses have all the equipment they need to remain safe. They also need to provide safe working conditions for these hardworking men and women. With that said, not all employment-related harm can be prevented in nursing scenarios; even safety-conscious ones. The following are some of the most common contributors to nursing-related harm that professionals face on the job.

Sticks with needles and other instrument

Nurses who are stuck with sharps, including scalpels, needles and other instruments are a primary hazard for nurses. These professionals are at risk when they’re drawing blood, disposing of the instruments or using them in any method. These sticks come with the risk of transmitting bloodborne pathogens, including HIV and hepatitis. Hospitals must implement strict safety protocols that encourage safe sharps disposal and usage.

Exposures to biohazards

Exposure to bodily fluids and tissues, as well as germs from communicable illnesses, are another routine hazard. These can occur through inhalation, direct contact or splashes to mucous membranes. Personal protective equipment, including eye protection, masks, gloves and gowns are the first line of defense against these biological hazards. Handwashing is another primary defense that must always be adhered to.

Injuries from lifting

Musculoskeletal injuries are prevalent among nurses due to the physical demands of their job. These injuries often result from repetitive tasks, lifting patients or awkward postures. Even moving patients on transfer boards can lead to injuries for nurses. Common incidents include back injuries, sprains and strains. Preventative measures include training on proper lifting techniques, using assistive devices like hoists or slide boards and promoting a safe working environment that minimizes physical strain.

Injured nurses may think that they should finish out a shift before they get care. This can lead to their injury becoming worse. They should be able to count on workers’ compensation coverage to handle the costs of the injuries, but they may need a legal representative to help them with getting the full benefits they’re due.