Common hazards faced by health care workers

Pennsylvania residents who work in the health care sector are at risk for many different kinds of workplace injuries and illnesses. According to OSHA, Emergency nurses and hospital workers are particularly vulnerable to workplace injuries. Some of the most common kinds of work injuries that affect such employees include falls, overexertion, infection and physical violence.

Patients are responsible for the vast majority of the physical violence that is suffered by health care workers. A study of emergency departments found that 12.1 percent of emergency nurses experience physical violence every week, and the violence is caused by patients 97.8 percent of the time. Mental health workers are more at risk for physical violence than workers in other health care departments.

Another hazard that affects many health care workers is toxic powdered gloves. While nurses must use gloves to avoid contracting infectious diseases and prevent the spread of those diseases, the powdered latex gloves that are commonly provided in hospitals are a health hazard themselves. The powder inside of these gloves is toxic and can cause rashes and anaphylactic shock in people with latex allergies. Nurses who frequently use powdered gloves can develop latex allergies even if they didn’t have the condition before.

A health care worker who is injured or develops an illness while working might be able to get financial compensation by filing a workers’ compensation claim. If a work-related injury was caused by physical violence, the injured worker may be able to file a separate third-party personal injury claim against the parties that perpetrated the violence.