The healthcare industry employs workers in a wide variety of trades that can include physicians, nurses, administration, security, janitorial, and food service staff. Every role is important to helping the hospital or clinic run smoothly and every role comes with risk.
There are many hazards within the healthcare industry. In fact, two federal agencies have called out this industry for injury concerns. Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that cases for nonfatal occupational injury and illness are among the highest within the healthcare sector.
How big of a problem is this?
Pretty big. In 2019, this industry reported over 221,000 workplace injury and illness cases to OSHA. This number was almost twice the rate compared to the rest of the private industry as a whole.
What types of injuries do workers’ face?
It is important to be aware of the risks. Those in the healthcare industry do great work, they make our communities a better place. But they are also taking on serious risks. They are exposed to blood borne pathogens and sharp objects, they are expected to work long, stressful hours and often do very physical work. This increases the risk of injury and illness such as:
- Back injuries from overexertion
- Slips, trips, and falls from hazards within the workplace environment
- Violent outbursts from hurting or frightened patients
- Abrasions from contact with objects like needles and scalpels
When injury and illness occur, we need to make sure our healthcare workers get the support they need. The workers’ compensation system is there to offer this support. Healthcare workers, like any other worker injured while on-the-job, should not hesitate to take advantage of these benefits. They can help cover the cost of medical care as well as missed wages while also helping to gather information about the types of injuries and illnesses within this industry so we can make it safer for everyone.