Healthcare workers are exposed to a wide range of safety hazards. Still, slips, trips and falls are the second leading cause of employee injuries that occur in hospitals. In fact, 25% of all hospital employee injuries can be attributed to these types of accidents.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the incidence rate of lost-workday injuries from slips, trips, and fall (STR) accidents on the same level in hospitals is 38.2 per 10,000 employees, 90 percent greater than the average rate for all other private industries combined (which is 20.1 per 10,000 employees).
It’s important to remember that doctors, nurses, and medical personnel aren’t the only workers at risk of workplace safety hazards. Hospitals also employ maintenance staff, medical technicians, building and grounds staff, food service workers, laundry, housekeeping, and administrative personnel – all of whom can also suffer from slips, trips and falls.
Read ahead to learn about common hazards hospital employees face and how to manage these risks to reduce workplace accidents and injuries.
Identifying the Hazards
Healthcare employees are likely to encounter many slip and fall hazards as they maneuver throughout the hospital each day. These hazards are present in every area including the nursing stations, operating rooms, hallways and more.
Sometimes it can be tough to properly identify safety hazards but by knowing the signs, being attentive and encouraging employees to speak up you can more easily identify common healthcare hazards.
Common slip-and-fall-related threats healthcare workers and staff face include:
- Contaminated floors
- Lack of signage
- Stairs and landings
- Inadequate lighting
- Slippery food service areas and restrooms
- Clutter, cords and obstructions
Managing the Risks
Although the slip-and-fall hazards previously mentioned lurk in areas throughout the hospital, there are methods for managing, reducing and eliminating such risks. But managing these risks requires all of your healthcare employees to be engaged and alert to potential threats. Additionally, they must be willing to take responsibility and report the hazards.
You and your team can manage safety risks by implementing the following methods:
- Recognize and remove/report the hazard
- Wear the proper slip-resistant shoes
- Place signage in wet areas
- Remove objects that can cause trips
Preventing the Risks
Accident prevention is tough when you aren’t aware that a hazard exists. That’s why it is important to perform a thorough assessment of the workplace to spot potential hazards. When you proactively identify threats, you build safety awareness for both you and your team. Safety awareness involves being constantly alert and able to recognize hazards. As a result, the understanding of the risks in your workplace streamlines your accident prevention efforts.
Protocols and procedures are also critical for effective accident prevention. Such protocols serve as a guideline for ensuring your team performs their individual tasks without sustaining injuries.
Identifying and managing hazards is the first step in eliminating risks and preventing accidents and injuries. Without knowledge of the safety hazards your team faces, it’s nearly impossible to establish an effective safety plan and mitigate risks. When you identify your company’s safety hazards, you can create a more accurate outline to help your team navigate and avoid obstacles.
Read 4 Safety Risks for Nurses and Nurse’s Aides to learn more about healthcare industry safety risks.