As nurses serve on the front lines of health care, they put themselves at significant risk for a workplace injury. According to 2018 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses have the highest rate of occupational injury among all occupations (excluding fatal injuries).
If you work as a nurse in a hospital, long-term care, home health or any other setting, try these strategies to prevent common types of workplace injuries for health care workers.
Take advantage of lift equipment
When you have to move a heavy patient, use your facility’s transfer and lift equipment to avoid straining your neck and back. Even if you think you can lift someone safely, doing so can put you both at risk. This tip applies to anything heavy you have to move during a nursing shift, not just patients.
Use appropriate disease precautions
Nurses are susceptible to communicable disease transmission in the workplace. Whenever you approach a patient at the bedside, wear gloves and use eyewear precautions. Take caution when using needles to prevent stick injuries, which also carry the risk for disease. Remember that patients can have contagious diseases without necessarily displaying symptoms. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after approaching a patient.
Report hazardous conditions
Slips, trips and falls represent a large category of health care workplace injuries. If you notice a spill or slick area, let the appropriate office know so they can take care of the issue. Always wear appropriate shoes to work.
If you suffer a work-related injury or illness, you have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits. These payments cover the cost of lost wages, medical bills and other related expenses.