Occupational Health Hazards in Hospitals, What Health Care Workers Should Know?
Nursing aides, attendants, and orderlies suffered the highest rates of musculoskeletal disorders. It is not just doctors, nurses, and medical workers who are exposed to such health hazards and risks; other people working in health care facilities are also facing similar hazards. For example, people working in the medical equipment maintenance, mechanical maintenance, building and grounds maintenance, food service, laundry, housekeeping, and administrative staff have reported nonfatal injuries and illnesses in the workplace.
The workers, however, have a right to claim workers' compensation if they have been subjected to nonfatal occupational injuries or illnesses in the workplace.
There are laws related to it. Employees can also seek help from workers' compensation lawyers for exercising their rights. Though it is hardly possible to eliminate the risks associated with the health care and social assistance industry, these safety tips will help workers to avoid extreme situation and reduce the risks.
Occupational Health Hazards among Healthcare Workers in Kampala, Uganda
Take Precautions to Avoid Bloodborne Pathogens Health care workers often come in contact with patients' body fluids and are therefore exposed to bloodborne pathogens. In this case, bacterial and viral infections are transmitted through blood and other body fluids. The risk for infection increases when a worker comes in contact with these fluids. Health care workers should therefore take necessary precautions and wear personal protective equipment to avoid contamination.
Gowns, gloves, safety goggles, and faceshields will keep body fluids off the worker's skin. Some of the best practices include:.
CDC - Health Care Workers - NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic
Workers who could be exposed also must be immunized against hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and other bloodborne or airborne pathogens. Be Careful with Sharps Injuries Scalpels, needles, and other sharp objects that have been used in medical facilities are usually contaminated. Health care workers often come in contact with them.
To avoid health hazards arising from them, it is important to follow an appropriate disposal system for all sharps and infectious waste. In addition, workers must be careful when handling sharp items because sharps injuries usually increase the risk of infectious diseases. Avoid the use of needles, if possible.
Today, many hospitals and medical facilities in the United States have reduced needle usage, using alternate routes through hands-free techniques. Other practices to reduce or eliminate risk of sharp injuries include disposing of syringes at the point of use in a safety box, no recapping of needles, using blunt suture needles and scalpel blades with rounded tips, passing sharp instruments in basins, using disposable gloves, etc. This puts those workers at risk for musculoskeletal disorders, which injure their bones, muscles, ligaments, nerves, joints, cartilage, tendons, or blood vessels in the back, limbs, neck or head.
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To protect yourself from musculoskeletal disorders and severe pains, use assistive devices such as slip sheets, slings, and electronic hoists whenever possible. Train Employees to be Safe against Chemical Hazards Some chemicals used in the health care industry may cause serious diseases such as cancer, reproductive disorders, neurological diseases, asthma, and developmental disorders.
The likes of such hazardous chemicals includes mercury, phthalates, bisphenol A, and triclosan. Medical workers can be exposed to chemotherapeutic agents and medications, which are harmful and need to be handled properly. According to OSHA, medical facilities need to train employees about how to handle hazardous substances safely.
The World Health Report Working Together for Health on human resources reported on a global shortage of health personnel which had reached crisis level in 57 countries. And called for the support and protection of the health workforce. Unsafe working conditions contribute to health worker attrition in many countries due to work-related illness and injury and the resulting fear of health workers of occupational infection, including from HIV and Tuberculosis.
Protecting the occupational health of health workers is critical to having an adequate workforce of trained and healthy health personnel. The WHO Global Plan of Action on workers health calls on all member states to develop national programmes for health worker occupational health. Skip to main content. Health workers Health worker occupational health Introduction A health care facility is a workplace as well as a place for receiving and giving care.