Working in the healthcare field brings a lot of benefits to the workers who chose this field. Workers enjoy high salaries, flexible schedules, excellent job opportunities, and a feeling of self-fulfillment because they can help people each day at work. But, being in the healthcare field is also risky. Each day, many people are hurt on the job at medical clinics throughout the world. Many of these hazards are unavoidable when it comes to choosing this type of employment, and some of them can end up causing life-altering injuries.
Exposure to Blood Borne Pathogens
Workers of this industry are exposed to infectious diseases daily, even those workers who do not have much patient contact. The risk is highest for doctors, nurses, surgical technicians, and nursing assistants who provide the most hands-on care to patients in the most intimate of moments. The next group at risk are those workers who directly handle sharp materials. This group includes housekeepers and janitors who empty the hazardous waste trash bins and sharps containers. Additionally, the surgical instrument processing tech, who is responsible for sterilizing all surgical equipment between each use, can also be added to this group.
There are many different chemicals used in the medical field, and if not used properly, they can harm people. Inhaling certain substances can be dangerous, and medical staff must take care to follow all of their MSDS (Material Data Safety Sheet) information for proper storage and clean up procedures should there be a spill.
Exposure to Drugs
Being exposed to certain medications can also be harmful to staff. Exposure to chemotherapy drugs should be avoided. Patients who have had chemotherapy medications should be handled with care because all of their body fluids, such as urine, tears, and sweat, can leak the chemotherapy, which poses a potential exposure event to staff members. Other drugs to be mindful of are certain antiviral and hormone therapy drugs. According to the CDC, 8 million Americans get exposed to these hazardous materials on an annual basis, and these drugs contribute to diagnoses of leukemia and other types of cancer.
When working in the healthcare field, a person must be diligent in understanding what the potential risks are that they may come into contact with. Additionally, hospital administration must take care to have appropriate safety rules and procedures in place to limit the risk of any harm coming to their employees.
Employees should be able to come to work and navigate in a safe environment, and it would be unfair for workers to have to look up the services of a lung disease lawyer or a lawyer who specializes in medical accidents because of unsafe work practices.
By training staff appropriately and being sure to pay attention to rules and regulations provided by OSHA, hospital administration and staff can work together in a safer and more productive environment.