There are plenty of work environments where workers have high risks of getting injured. Those who drive for a living could get into a car crash. Those who work with animals might get bitten or kicked. Dangerous jobs come in many forms, but the workplace where people are most likely to get injured isn’t what most people expect.
When considering injuries and not fatalities due to work, hospitals are the most dangerous place to work in the country. When looked at as a percentage of the total number of full-time workers, employee injuries in hospitals are substantially higher than injury reports in manufacturing.
In fact, you’re more likely to get injured as a hospital worker than construction workers or employees in any private industry in the United States. Why is working in a hospital so dangerous?
Patient care is quite demanding
One of the biggest dangers for hospital workers is overexertion, accounting for approximately half (48%) of all lost-time work injuries in hospital settings. Nurses and other staff members trying to lift or maneuver a patient could hurt their back or overexert their bodies.
A task that should require mechanical assistance or multiple other people could fall to a single individual during an emergency or when there just isn’t enough staff. Repeated lifting can also lead to repetitive motion injuries.
Hospitals see a lot of violent behavior
From those under the influence of drugs to those seeking treatment while in state custody, there can be many potentially violent people in hospitals.
Those with dementia, those who have a poor reaction to certain medications and those withdrawing from addictive substances could all become aggressive or violent in a hospital environment. Such incidents account for roughly 9% of all lost-time accidents in hospital settings.
Hospitals are full of dangerous objects and spaces
From contaminated used needles to defibrillators, hospitals have countless objects that could injure employees. Contact with objects causes 13% of hospital worker injuries, while exposure to substances causes another 4%. Falls, slips and trips are the only other major risk factor, responsible for 25% of hospital worker injuries.
Recognizing that a workplace is dangerous can be the first step toward keeping workers safe or helping them get the workers’ compensation benefits they need if they do get hurt on the job.