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Hospital workers, like nurses, have a high risk of job injury

Physicians' assistants complete a long educational process in the hopes of helping other people. Ironically, these caring and devoted professionals are often at increased risk of injury when they go to work.

While many people know that construction and manufacturing are dangerous careers, few consider that hospital workers actually have a higher rate of injury than those working in the construction or manufacturing industries. Being aware of the common causes of injuries can help keep hospital workers safer so that they can keep performing the jobs they love.

Handling patients is a major risk factor

For most people who work in hospitals, patients are the single largest source of risk. Nurses and other medical professionals often need to provide physical care and support to patients. That could mean lifting a patient off of a bed, helping that person walk to the bathroom or dressing someone.

It should not come as much of a surprise that patient care is a risk factor for bodily injury. Lifting people can strain even the healthiest person. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), 48 percent of injuries suffered by hospital workers result from overexertion or bodily reaction.

This category includes issues like hernias, herniated discs, damage to connective tissue and joint pain. Back injuries and strains or sprains are some of the more common injuries suffered by hospital workers. Even with education on proper lifting techniques, hospital workers may still risk these injuries due to understaffing or urgent situations.

Slips, contact with objects and violence are other big risks

Another 25 percent of reported hospital worker injuries involve slips, trips or falls. These accidents could result from polished floors, spilled beverages or even bodily fluids on the floor. It only takes a second for someone to end up with a brain injury or a broken bone after slipping in a puddle.

But the floor is far from the most dangerous object in a hospital. There are scalpels and other cutting tools, electrical devices like defibrillators and countless other objects that could injure medical workers. These kinds of accidents account for another 13 percent of hospital worker injuries.

Dealing with patients who have mental health issues, dementia or addiction can increase the risk of patient violence. Patients may not be in their right minds when admitted to the hospital, leaving the staff at risk of assault. Roughly 9 percent of hospital workers' injuries result from violence in the workplace.

Thankfully, hospital workers typically receive coverage through the workers' compensation program in North Carolina. Workers' compensation can provide medical benefits with no deductibles or co-pays, as well as compensation for lost wages during recovery.

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