People usually go into medical work because they want to help others and/or to have a very stable, well-compensated profession. Medical work offers both competitive compensation and rewarding work that makes a positive difference in the community.
However, people going into medicine often don’t realize exactly how dangerous and demanding their careers will be. Jobs in hospitals often force people to work very long shifts and on holidays and weekends when they would rather be home with their families. Hospital workers also have much higher level of risk than the average worker for a serious injury on the job that forces them to take time away from employment.
Thankfully, employees who know the biggest risks on the job may have an easier time avoiding them. These are the most commonly-reported sources of worker injury in modern hospitals.
Overexertion, often due to patient care
The number one reason that hospital workers must take time off due to an injury is because they push their bodies too hard. They try to lift someone who is too heavy or otherwise overexert themselves, thus resulting in the spring, strain or back injury. They then require a leave of absence so that their body can heal and may have limited ability to provide patient care in the interim.
Slips, trips and falls
There are many ways that workers could fall in a hospital, from rushing to respond to a patient’s call light to slipping in spilled coffee someone else dropped in the hallway. Slips, trips and falls are the second leading cause of hospital worker injury.
Accidental contact with objects
From artificial defibrillators to syringes, there are many very dangerous tools used in modern hospitals. Workers who come into contact with these devices or tools may end up hurt and may need time off to recover from their injuries. In some cases, like accidental needle sticks, they may end up with serious illnesses due to exposure to biohazards.
Almost 10% of the lost-time incidents in hospitals are the result of someone becoming physical with a hospital employee. Drug and alcohol addiction, dementia and adverse reaction to medications are all reasons why patients might become suddenly violent with those providing their care.
Nurses and other hospital workers injured on the job will often need both medical coverage and disability benefits while they are unable to work. The state’s workers’ compensation program can provide both. Avoiding job hazards isn’t always possible, so knowing one’s rights after an injury, including the right to workers’ compensation, is often very important for those working in high-risk job environments, like hospitals.