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Nurses and healthcare workers: how hazardous is your workplace?


At any hospital or healthcare facility, the care and safety of patients is always of the utmost importance; however the welfare and safety of the nurses and healthcare workers who look after these patients should also be prioritised, as without them there is no care.

Nurses and healthcare workers face numerous hazards to their physical and emotional health each day. Some of these include:

  • Exposure to blood borne pathogens and toxic chemicals, drugs or radiation
  • Slip, trips and falls – caused by spilled or leaked liquids, obstructions in hallways and stair wells
  • Physical or mental abuse – some patients or their visitors may become aggressive, violent or verbally abusive
  • Lifting and moving patients – this can be a major cause of musculoskeletal injury
  • Moving and handling heavy trolleys, wheelchairs and medical equipment
  • Work-related stress – the emotional toll of the unpredictable circumstances and exposure to trauma combined with shift work can cause a great deal of mental strain
  • The impact of shift work, working overtime and work-related fatigue
  • Sharp injuries – including needlesticks and scalpel injuries

Hospitals and healthcare facilities should have safety protocols in place to help prevent injuries. Ongoing training for healthcare workers also plays an important role, as it is vital to ensure they are aware of potential hazards and know the steps they can take to prevent injury to themselves and others - whether it’s lifting a patient, working with sharps or dealing with an aggressive person.

Keeping our nurses and all other healthcare providers safe and healthy is a vital part of maintaining patient care standards for all.

Workplace safety interactive

Take a look at our interactive to find out more about the hazards nurses face in their workplaces.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: October 18, 2019.

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