Healthcare workers are no strangers to workplace injuries; in fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare workers experience more work-related injuries and illnesses than any other industry.
This is surprising to many who assume that industries like construction or manufacturing would have more injuries, but healthcare workers perform many daily tasks that can potentially cause injuries or accidents to occur.
Nurses are especially susceptible to getting injured at work because of their routine tasks that require constant walking, bending over, stretching, standing, and lifting. Nurses play a vital role in the healthcare system, and it wouldn’t be able to function without the near 3 million RNs in the US. In addition to possible injuries from labor, most healthcare facilities have other hazards that could cause accidents as well, such as harmful substances, chemicals, drugs, diseases, and the dreaded accidental needlesticks. Each healthcare facility is unique, and all have their own inherit work hazards. For example, nurses in hospitals are more likely to get injured from a fall or slip than a nurse that works in an ambulatory care center.
Regardless of the exact setting that healthcare workers are in, accidents and injuries will unfortunately happen. Here are some of the most common nursing injuries that occur each year in the US:
Overexertion and Bodily Reaction
Overexertion and other bodily reactions are the most common injuries to nurses in the US. These injuries stem from common daily tasks such as excessive physical effort, repetitive motions, twisting, bending and lifting. Nurses and other healthcare personnel are routinely put in awkward positions and have to lift heavy objects or transport bulky equipment around a facility. Another leading cause of this type of injury for nurses is from lifting up patients. People are always an awkward thing to lift and it seems like there’s never a right way to do it, so lifting patients up from bed to place into a wheelchair is a prime example of how to injure your back at work. This can lead to an injury in the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, and even spinal discs.
Falls, Slips, and Trips
Another very common reason for nurses getting injured in the workplace is falling, slipping, or tripping. Hospital hallways can get crowded with extra equipment and spills happen frequently, which can cause nurses to slip and fall. Additionally, many facilities have electrical equipment with cords running around on the floors, which is one of the leading causes of trips in hospitals. This type of accident is more likely to occur to older nurses, but it can happen to anyone in the profession and can cause serious injuries that keep nurses home for extended periods of time.
Contact with Objects or Equipment
Hospitals are filled to the brim with all sorts of equipment from tiny surgical supplies to large imaging machines. Injuries can and do occur from nurses colliding with different types of equipment throughout a healthcare facility. Walking into hanging or bulky equipment that is sticking out further than it should is a common cause of injury for nurses. Another serious accident that can occur to nurses is an accidental needlestick. Needles are used throughout hospitals to administer the needed medicine to patients, but if the needles aren’t stored properly before and after use, nurses can get stuck by them. In fact, it is estimated that there are 600,000 to 800,000 needlestick accidents annually in the US alone. It may not be the leading cause of workplace injuries for nurses, but needlesticks can have serious consequences depending on what is in the syringe and who it was initially administered to.
Another cause of injuries to nurses comes from transporting supplies and patients around a healthcare facility. Without the proper equipment, moving around heavy loads can be very stressful on a nurse’s body. The back is especially vulnerable in this type of situation, which is why well-designed equipment like utility carts are essential for healthcare facilities to keep their personnel healthy.
There are plenty of ways that nurses can injured performing daily tasks, but how can we minimize the risk of accidents happening? The leading cause of injury for nurses by far is overexertion and other bodily reactions. This is usually caused by frequent bending over, picking up heavy loads, and transporting heavy loads. The best way to prevent injury from occurring in this type of daily work, is to minimize the ways it can happen. The answer to the problem is generally agreed upon by experts as being better ergonomics.
Ergonomics enable nurses and other healthcare workers to be able to perform the same tasks, but to do so in a much safer way. For example, utility carts are a very common way for nurses to transport heavy equipment around a facility and supposedly save them from injury due to carrying the heavy loads. However, a poorly-designed cart can cause nurses to position themselves in awkward positions that could actually cause them to hurt their back or other body parts with frequent transport.
This is why Lakeside manufactures a line of special Ergonomically Engineered Utility Carts to minimize the risk of injury for nurses. These utility carts come in different heights and sizes, and have special handles designed to fit whoever is transporting the cart comfortably and naturally. Additionally, all of Lakeside’s utility carts are built on top-of-the-line casters to ensure smooth transport around hospitals so that nurses don’t need to worry about random braking and wheel malfunctions. Lakeside’s ergonomic carts allow nurses can do their jobs without having to worry about injuring themselves on the job.
Lakeside also has the ability to custom modify any of the standard products and will work with any healthcare facility to make sure that they have the right tools for the job. Injuries can prevent nurses from being able to do their jobs, which is something that no one wants. Investing in well-made, ergonomic equipment is key in preventing this. Get in contact with us, and let’s figure out how we can help your facility become safer for patients and staff alike!