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Common Types of Occupational Hazards in Healthcare

 Posted on December 29,2023 in Workers' Compensation

San Benito County workers' compensation lawyerHealthcare personnel work tirelessly caring for the public's health, often putting themselves at risk. Knowing that you have rights when you experience occupational hazards is beneficial. A California workers' compensation lawyer can help determine if you have a potential case.

Exposure to Infectious Diseases

Working closely with sick patients makes healthcare employees more vulnerable to infectious illnesses from airborne or fluid and blood-borne pathogens via respiration, needle sticks, mucous contact, etc. Personnel can develop severe infectious diseases on the job without proper administrative controls, personal protective equipment, or immunization.

Musculoskeletal Injuries

Healthcare settings commonly lead to sprains, strains, and tears involving the muscles, tendons, joints, and spinal discs. The main culprits include repetitive motion from administrative computer work, heavy lifting and repositioning of patients, frequent bending, twisting, long periods of standing, and rushing. Back pain and injury are some of the most common types of injuries associated with healthcare jobs.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Fast-paced hospital floors present abundant fall risks like slick, smooth surfaces, cluttered hallways, loose rugs and wires, and liquid spills. Rushing between units and patients while multitasking leads to reduced awareness and accidents. Patients can also grab onto and topple staff. Falls often cause significant harm.

Exposure to Hazardous Substances

Doctors, nurses, and sanitation employees in healthcare handle disposal of or clean up after many toxic substances from radiation, chemotherapy chemicals, powerful disinfectants, surgical plumes, and more. Staff risks dangerous acute and cumulative exposures without adequately sealed containers and ventilation.

Physical Assaults by Patients

Mentally unstable, intoxicated, or angry patients may attack caregivers attempting treatments, especially in psychiatric and emergency departments. Violent outbursts lead to bruises, bite

marks, lost teeth, stab wounds, concussions, and worse when experienced staff are not nearby to help de-escalate. Mandatory workplace violence prevention plans are now required in California healthcare facilities.

Psychological Distress

Repeated trauma witnessing patient suffering, intense work pressures combined with understaffing, experiencing violent outbursts, a compressed schedule, and more can accumulate over time, leading to PTSD, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and even suicide ideation among medical teams experiencing burnout.

Contact a Gilroy, CA Workers' Compensation Attorney

While regulations exist to curb risks, reporting lapses and advocating for sufficient safety budgets remain vital. Nurses' unions offer helpful resources for affected personnel. Connecting with a Santa Clara County, CA workers' compensation lawyer can also help address the aftermath of occupational hazards when they do occur despite best efforts. Call Cramer + Martinez at 408-848-1113 for a free consultation.

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