According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthcare workers face some of the highest rates of nonfatal occupational injury and illness of any industry sector. That fact can make it difficult to maintain a consistent workforce.
Your healthcare workplace team needs every member to be successful. Not only that, but helping your employees avoid injuries on the job is part of being a responsible employer.
Sports medicine techniques can help you reduce the dangers in your workplace and create a safer environment for everyone. Learn more below about implementing these techniques in your facility.
Occupational Hazards for Healthcare Workers
There are many different occupational hazards for healthcare workers. One of the biggest is their long work hours. In fact, physicians and surgeons work on average 66.7 hours per week.
The demanding schedules of the healthcare workforce often include being on-call much of the time. Additionally, 29% of healthcare workers report working non-standard shifts - night shifts, or rotating shifts. All of these factors lead to inconsistent sleep schedules. Sleep deprivation can be associated with higher incidents of musculoskeletal injury, physical and mental health issues, and compromised safety.
Healthcare workers face an additional significant exposure in the form of potential skin hazards. 25.7% of US healthcare workers report handling chemical products at least twice a week.
Healthcare Worker Safety Tips
The longer you wait to implement a plan, the more time your employees are at risk. Check out these healthcare worker safety tips to prevent accidents and injuries in your facility starting today.
1. Create an Ergonomic Work Flow for Employees
The more ergonomic your workplace, the more easily your employees will be able to maneuver throughout the day.
Try to create a layout where workers don’t have to move heavy or bulky equipment frequently. Also make sure that medicines and supplies are stored in areas that are easy to use and don’t require employees to bend, crouch, or reach.
All of your chairs should be adjustable and complete with lumbar support to prevent back strain. Standing desks may also be a good option in healthcare spaces.
2. Introduce Employees to Healthy Sleep Techniques
Long work hours and irregular shifts can leave healthcare workers feeling fatigued. This can lead to higher rates of physical and mental stress.
According to United States Department of Labor statistics, there are 18 percent more accidents and injuries reported during evening shifts and 30 percent more reported during night shifts.
Twelve-hour workdays are also associated with a 37 percent increase in reports of injuries.
The longer the pattern goes on, the longer your employees are at risk. In fact, a 2005 study reported that for every extended shift a medical resident was scheduled for in a month, they were 16.2 percent more likely to be in a car crash on their commute home.
Helping your employees learn healthy sleep techniques and setting regular schedules for them can greatly reduce their risk of injury.
3. Plan for Injury Prevention
Creating a comprehensive health and safety plan for your workplace can help you increase your compliance with OSHA standards in an effort to reduce your rate of injuries and accidents.
The OSHA website provides healthcare facilities with a step-by-step plan to implement health and safety programs for employees. You can pick and choose the actions that make the most sense for your organization.
But, don’t wait until your official plan is written to start making changes. Every effort you make to increase healthcare workplace safety is a step in the right direction, and the sooner the better.
4. Encourage Employees to Take Care of Their Own Bodies
Encouraging preventative care can help you increase productivity rates in your healthcare facility. This can save you both the cost of healthcare and lost production in the future.
As your company’s most valuable asset, your employees need to be encouraged to take care of their bodies and get care for minor injuries before they become a major debilitating and costly problem.
The last thing you want is for one of your employees to go on long term disability, being unable to work.
5. Provide Chemical Hazard and Sharp Object Safety Training
Depending on the facility, there are a wide variety of chemical hazards and pathogens present in healthcare workplaces. Providing your employees with training on handling hazardous substances according to OSHA best practices can go a long way toward preventing injuries.
You should also provide them with comprehensive training on handling sharp objects that might be contaminated. They need to know how to avoid an accident as well as how to respond in case of an incident.
Applying Sports Medicine Techniques in Your Healthcare Facility
Work-Fit applies sports medicine techniques that help your healthcare workers stay healthy. We can lower your incidence rate of injuries and accidents, reducing your liability for worker’s compensation claims and lowering your healthcare costs company-wide.
Protect your workforce by reaching out to one of our team members to tailor a plan for your in-house injury management. Contact us today to speak to one of our healthcare professionals directly.