Most people think of a hospital as a place to go when you are sick or injured and need help. However, working in a hospital can be extremely hazardous for the employees. Thousands of caregivers suffer injuries every year.
Many of these injuries are preventable. According to OSHA, the most common injuries that caregivers face that results in days away from work are sprains and strains.
What causes these injuries?
The most common cause of professional caregiver injury is a result of overexertion. Many caregivers work very long shifts on their feet, and fatigue is an omnipresent part of the job. This fatigue can lead to serious injury.
Other causes of injury include slipping, coming into accidental contact with objects, violence-related situations, and exposure to hazardous substances.
How can workplaces prevent caregiver injury?
Having a comprehensive safety and health management system in hospitals is paramount to protect the workers. Having adequate equipment to help with the movement of patients as well as proper training protocol to prevent sprains and strains is also extremely important.
Not only does protecting caregivers make hospitals more efficient, it also saves money. Hospitals who opt into “safe lifting” programs end up reducing worker injury, thus reducing the amount of days that workers cannot be on the job. For example, a hospital in South Carolina implemented a safe handling program and ended up saving nearly $200,000 in costs related to nurse turnover.
Stanford University Medical Center also saved over 2 million dollars over the course of two years after spending $800,000 on a safe handling program. They saved money on workers’ compensation as well as reducing pressure ulcers for patients.