The health care industry is massive. According to the CDC, there are over 18 million health care workers in the United States. If you work in health care, you provide a valuable service to the American people. Your job is to keep people healthy, safe and alive.
Sadly, your job sometimes puts you at risk of various illnesses, injuries and even death. There are a lot of health and safety hazards in the health care environment. Here are some guidelines for staying safe.
1. Be careful with sharp objects
You may use or come into contact with various sharp things at work, including needles and scalpels. The sharpness of these instruments may cause cuts and lacerations. These objects also often contain contaminants, which means there is also a risk of bloodborne pathogens and infectious diseases. Make sure you are cautious whenever you use these objects and adhere to proper disposal methods.
2. Take precautions against bloodborne pathogens
It is common for you to come into contact with various bodily fluids. You can minimize your risk of getting an illness by following these steps:
- Wear protective equipment, such as gloves, gowns, face shields and safety goggles
- Use disinfectants and antiseptics
- Clean and decontaminate instruments
- Practice hand hygiene
While it may be impossible to completely eliminate the possibility of getting a viral or bacterial infection, these steps can help safeguard you.
3. Handle and move patients safely
You sometimes need to lift, reposition or move patients. This can result in overexertion injuries, especially when you are handling patients who are overweight. You may suffer back or neck injuries that get worse over time. Make sure you use ergonomic strategies when manually handling patients and ask for assistance from a co-worker when you need it.
If you get hurt at work, make sure you report it as soon as possible and file a workers’ compensation claim.