When one thinks of hazardous workplaces, they may imagine the rolling deck of a crab fishing boat, skeletal frame of a skyscraper under construction or a manufacturing plant with its high-pressure stamping and pressing machines. But, what about a hospital? Nursing home? These are probably not the first job sites that come to mind. Yet, statistics show that health care workers are more likely to be injured on the job than workers in either construction or manufacturing.
According to data that was assembled by the United States Bureau of Statistics (BLS), health care workers suffer job-related injuries with greater frequency than those in many other occupations. Most of the injuries occur in larger health facilities, like hospitals or nursing homes, but workers who visit the homes of patients are also injured with some frequency. Those who work in private health care settings are slightly more likely to suffer injury than those at public hospitals or facilities.
The frequency of illness and injury -- and subsequent claims for workers compensation benefits -- among health care workers is due largely to injuries that are inflicted by other people. For example, if a patient is struggling while being moved or restrained, the assisting health care worker could be injured. The next most frequent category of injuries is those that result from slips or falls at the workplace.
The results of overexertion from lifting or carrying, such as sprained muscles, hernias or ruptured discs are also commonly seen among health care workers. One workplace risk that is rather unique to the health care setting is the risk of contracting disease or illness while at the workplace and in the course of one's job duties. This, combined with all of the other risk factors, makes the health care industry one of the most perilous for its workers.
Source: BLS.gov, "Hospital workers: an assessment of occupational injuries and illnesses," accessed on April 10, 2018