Medical Employee Safety

Thứ ba - 01/12/2015 11:35
In 2010, workers in the healthcare and social assistance industry sustained more than 650,000 work-related injuries and illnesses, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. In fact, workers in this industry had more injuries and occupational illnesses than workers in the manufacturing industry. Because of the number of safety hazards present in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities, safety training is a top priority.

Fire Safety

Fire hazards represent a serious threat to the safety of healthcare workers and their patients, as healthcare facilities contain a number of flammable materials. These materials include medical oxygen, waste anesthetic gases and the formaldehyde used to preserve tissue specimens. Faulty equipment also increases the risk for fires. Workers must inspect machines regularly, looking for overloaded extension cords, split cords and damaged plugs. They should also know how to use fire extinguishers and exit the building safely in the event of a fire.

Chemical Hazards

Medical facilities house hundreds of chemicals, from cleaning products to the solutions used to disinfect the skin prior to surgery. Exposure to these chemicals can cause chemical burns and irritation of the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. All healthcare organizations must maintain material safety data sheets for each chemical used. These data sheets contain information about each chemical's composition and recommendations for proper handling. Workers should also wear gloves and other protective clothing when handling hazardous chemicals.

Radiation Safety

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities house X-ray machines, CT scanners, fluoroscopes and radiation therapy machines. Healthcare workers also use radioactive materials to diagnose and treat diseases. Decreasing the amount of time spent in the radiation field decreases the dose of radiation you receive. Medical professionals should also maintain as much distance as possible from the radiation source when operating medical imaging equipment or performing procedures that require the use of radioactive materials. Wearing goggles, thyroid shields and lead aprons helps keep medical workers safe when working around sources of radiation.

Infection Control

Healthcare workers come into contact with soiled linens, used medical supplies and contaminated surfaces each day. This puts them at risk for coming into contact with blood, urine, feces and other body fluids that carry infectious organisms. Medical personnel should wear gloves when touching patients or touching surfaces in patient rooms. They should also wash their hands regularly, especially before and after coming in contact with patients or contaminated materials. Protective barriers, such as goggles and masks, can also protect healthcare workers from coming into contact with infectious organisms.

Musculoskeletal Injuries

Hospital workers spend a great deal of time on their feet, especially those tasked with providing direct patient care. Some workers also have to bend frequently or maintain awkward positions when assisting patients. This puts them at risk for developing musculoskeletal injuries, which are injuries that affect the muscles, joints and connective tissues. Moving close to patients when helping them get out of bed is one way to reduce the risk of these injuries. Healthcare workers should also use assistive devices such as slings and mechanical hoists whenever possible.

Sharps Safety

Nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers handle needles, scalpels, razor blades and other sharp objects on a daily basis. When they do not store or dispose of these objects properly, they put housekeepers and other healthcare personnel at risk of needle sticks and cuts. These injuries put workers in danger because sharp objects may have come into contact with blood or other body fluids from patients who have HIV, hepatitis and other serious infections. Workers should always dispose of needles in enclosed sharps containers instead of throwing them in the garbage. When handling scalpels and other sharps, nurses and doctors should verbally warn each other when they are about to pass instruments. Using a basin to hold sharp instruments is another way to prevent injuries, as this reduces direct contact with the objects.

Nguồn tin: Leigh Ann Morgan, Demand Media

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