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Common injuries among healthcare workers

Posted on Mar. 11, 2021 ( comments)

Healthcare is a heavy lift, and it takes a dangerous toll on its workers—from physicians and nurses to security and maintenance staff.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare workers experience more incidences of injury and illness than workers in any other industry, including manufacturing and construction. For workers in nursing and residential care facilities, the risks are even greater—and so is the fallout when injuries happen. A nursing assistant with a serious back injury could be out of work for weeks.

Injuries most frequently seen in healthcare workers include:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Slipped discs and other back injuries
  • Punctures and cuts
  • Broken bones
  • Head trauma

Know the risks

Recognizing healthcare’s unique hazards is the first step to prevent on-the-job injuries, and keep your bottom line healthy. Here are six common causes for injury:

  1. Overexertion and repetitive stress. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), healthcare workers are seven times more likely than others to develop injuries that affect muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs and blood vessels.

  1. Patient-handling activities. Nursing assistants are particularly prone to injury from transferring and repositioning patients and working in awkward positions.

  1. Sharp instruments. For medical workers, needles, scissors and scalpels are tools of the trade. Improper use can result in cuts and puncture wounds and increase the risk of infection. 

  1. Slips, trips and falls. Healthcare workers are constantly on the move, and hazards are always underfoot. Water and other liquid spills, along with loose cords, hoses and wires increase the chance of falls and injury.

  1. Understaffing. When a healthcare facility is short on staffing, that puts a heavy burden on front-line workers. Added workload, less assistance from others and pressure to work at an accelerated pace can up the chances of accidents and injuries.

  1. Patient violence. The healthcare industry’s unique factors make it more vulnerable to workplace violence. Its workers have a 20 percent higher chance of workplace violence than all other workers, and injuries related to violence are four times more likely to cause workers to take time off than other types of injuries.

Your prescription for a healthy workforce

The experts at MultiCare Occupational Medicine are solely focused on occupational medicine. We know what’s most important to you and your colleagues – keeping your workforce safe, healthy and on the job. Our team of providers and staff are dedicated to treating work-related injuries and helping our patients recover and return to work as soon as safely possible. 

When you partner with us, employees have access to any of our Occupational Medicine clinics, as well as our convenient Indigo Urgent Care locations so that they don’t have to visit the ER for minor illnesses or injuries. When additional care is needed, MultiCare Occupational Medicine is connected to all the resources of MultiCare Health System, including its team of orthopedic and rehabilitation specialists.

About The Author

MultiCare Occupational Medicine
MultiCare Occupational Medicine provides comprehensive occupational medicine services for employers and employees, including employment physicals and screenings to injury and return to work care.  More stories by this author
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