The world has gotten a good look at just how essential handwashing is for public health. But germs and viruses aren’t the only hazards to be mindful of when working in a hospital. Healthcare settings are home to a vast number of risks, and your ability to deal with them according to safety protocols is part of your job.
There’s no time like Workplace Safety Month to review the hazards found in hospitals. Let’s take a look at just four of the hazards you should be mindful of everyday.
Facing down biological risks is an inherent part of working in healthcare. Biohazardous waste is everywhere. Every employee must have the relevant information and training on the correct way to deal with healthcare waste in general and biological waste in particular.
One way to protect yourself and your colleagues are to ask your employer to provide Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) training. HAZWOPER training helps healthcare workers deal with the day-to-day risks they face and identifies the procedures and proper techniques needed to protect themselves and patients from contamination.
Slips, Trips, and Poor Ergonomics
We’re all aware of the importance of preventing slips, trips, and falls in hospitals. It’s as important for patients as it is for healthcare workers. One of the things that often goes overlooked is the risk of ergonomic hazards.
Poor posture, improper manual handling, and even old chairs and uneven desks can contribute to musculoskeletal injuries.
How can you ask your employer for help? By providing regular training on manual handling and investing in equipment that keeps workers safe as they transfer patients.
Workplace Bullying and Harassment
Workplace bullying and harassment is a problem in healthcare around the world. Studies show that it can impact everyone who works in the hospital, but it’s most often reported by nurses. Workplace bullying has an impact on workers’ perceived stress and anxiety as well as posttraumatic symptoms.
Unprofessional behavior like bullying can not only damage the mental health of workers, but it contributes to medical errors, which impacts the safety of patients.
How do you stop bullying? Ask your employer about their bullying and harassment policy and make sure you report incidences that you see or experience.
The chemical hazards in healthcare settings are a risk for workers, patients, and visitors. In most cases, minimizing chemical healthcare usually means using technology or isolated environments to remove the hazard safely.
Your role is to use these systems safely and using the appropriate technology and to report instances where systems seem to malfunction.
It’s Your Job to Stay Safe at Work
Staying safe at work is as much a part of your job as providing or supporting patient care. By staying on top of these four hospital hazards, you’ll be well on your way to supporting a hospital that’s safe for everyone, including and especially patients.
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