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Common injuries that health care workers should know about

Unfortunately, hospitals are among the most dangerous work environments across the country. Nurses, doctors and other health care workers risk their personal safety to provide the level of care their patients require. Health care workers risk many types of injuries that cause them to miss work, lose wages and draw on workers’ compensation benefits to help them manage until they recover enough to return to work.

Many health care workers do not report their injuries and continue working, not realizing that failing to report a health issue can affect their situations and claim benefits. Here are a few common types of injuries that plague health care workers.

Infection and pathogens

Health care workers are not immune to the many pathogens, diseases and infections that they encounter every day. Accidental exposure to these hazards is common. For example, a worker may come in contact with dangerous microorganisms by accidentally breaking his or her skin with a used needle, failing to wash hands before and after helping a patient or failing to wear a mask in a room where a patient’s disease may be airborne.

Assault and verbal abuse

Health care workers also face the danger of an assault on the job. Patients who are under the effects of medication or who are in severe pain may react harshly or even violently to a health care worker. Doctors, nurses and other staff often find themselves physically and verbally attacked.

Slips and Falls

Falls are common, especially in medical facilities where it may be difficult to manage spills or slippery surfaces that cause workers to trip, slip or fall. Hospitals also frequently have high-traffic areas with obstructions, and in patient rooms, wires and tubes from medical equipment may present tripping hazards. Narrow walkways and objects belonging to visitors may also create high fall risks.