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Occupational hazards nurses face

| Jan 19, 2021 | personal injury, workers' compensation |

Nurses help their patients overcome injuries and illnesses, but sometimes working in the medical field poses many hazards, too. At work, many nurses encounter physical dangers and chemical hazards that can have detrimental impacts on their lives.

In order to protect themselves and their coworkers, nurses should take precautions to maximize health and safety and minimize accidents.

Chemical hazards

Nurses treating patients with infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis B and MRSA may also face exposure to these pathogens. Other workplace dangers include radiation or chemical exposure, latex allergies, and dermatitis from hand hygiene.

Sterilizing agents, chemotherapy medications and other chemicals nurses work with also carry significant health risks.

Physical dangers

Nurses may hurt themselves with heavy manual lifting from moving patients or repositioning immobile individuals. Often, nurses work in physically awkward positions which can lead to bodily injuries.

The nature of medical work inherently means a lot of standing and walking. Excessive physical strain may lead to musculoskeletal disorders.

Depending on the patient population the nurses work with (such as geriatric or psych patients), they may encounter workplace violence more so than other health care workers. Rogue patient behavior poses risks for psychological trauma, minor or serious injuries, and even death in extreme cases.

Accident reduction

Workplaces hiring nurses can reduce occupational accidents by enacting and following proper procedures for dealing with chemicals, wearing personal protective equipment, handling sharp objects or biological hazards, and moving patients.

Nurses injured on the job may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits to pay for medical bills and any wages lost due to the injury.