The healthcare industry is one of the most vital parts of our economy and society as a whole. With the great rewards of working in an industry that literally saves countless lives on a daily basis, it is, however, not without risks. These risks are those of a nature that the industry takes huge precautions to avoid. However, these can never be stopped completely. As we are finding out with COVID-19, many healthcare businesses are adopting standards to rectify or fix problems that arise, whether machinal or human in nature, and at the same time, some still struggle to address the issues.
The Risks to Healthcare Worker
Risks associated with healthcare come in various forms. The main safety-related risks affecting employees and employers alike include slips, trips, falls, trauma, accidents, illness, damage to equipment, damage to surroundings, damage to the equipment, and theft. Other main hazards include data entry errors, copying and pasting older information into a new report, confusing one patient with another, and repetitive motion injuries.
It’s important for hospitals to have safety committees that work to solve safety issues, as opposed to just reporting them. The committee plays an important role in identifying current and potential hazards, and implementing a course of action to protect healthcare workers and keep patients safe.
- Laura Willoughby, MD Deputy Chief of Staff Primary Care, Iowa City VA Health Care System
Healthcare Industry Safety Standards
To avoid safety-related risks, the healthcare industry strives to take any and all possible precautions. Such policies include strict procedures for cleanliness, classes for employees, along with purchasing and using safety equipment, like personal protective equipment (gloves and masks for eyes, face, and head). For instance, COVID-19, which comes with great cost to companies, can potentially pose threats to the general public if people refuse to wear face masks while out or ignore rules against congregating in groups.
One of the most advantageous ways we as a society have dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on the United States is to adhere to what health experts and politicians, particularly governors, have laid down guidelines on social distancing, group convening, face mask usage when outside, and other factors that affect whether individuals in the United States are catching the virus.
If most Americans heed the directive, as many as 45,000 fewer Americans will die of coronavirus this fall, according to Dr. Chris Murray, the director of the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Accident, Illness, Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention for Healthcare Workers
Even with safety regulations in place, problems are bound to happen. When they do, the healthcare industry has procedures in place to handle issues. Such policies include medical training for employees regarding COVID-19 and other threats. Other standard practices involve sanitation of all surfaces, particularly in COVID-19 wards, or having a hand hygiene policy for healthcare workers. Still, levels of influenza-like illness (ILI) and COVID-19-like illness (CLI) activity remain lower than peaks seen in March and April but are increasing in most regions.
The healthcare industry employs thousands of people and testing x-rays and other machines while providing confidence in wellbeing for all of America. Those benefits come with many risks (such as falls, illness, trauma, etc), many of which are actually preventable with different products like face masks, wound care kits, gloves, and better protective equipment. When risks are realized, though, procedures and products (like employee training) help alleviate the deaths.
Together with the help of the CDC and those who are in the know, we will prevail as a society.
Find Your Industry's Safety Solutions
Top Products For The Healthcare Industry
Gas Cylinder Transport Equipment
Medical gas cylinder storage and handling is an occupational hazard among health care workers. Oxygen, general anesthetics, nitrous oxide and other gases need to be carefully transported through the complex. Due to their weight, high-pressure contents and unwieldy shape, gas cylinders require a specially designed hand truck.
Biohazardous Waste Can
Biohazardous waste cans help protect healthcare workers and patients from contamination from blood or bodily fluids which can cause disease. These discrete containers are critical to healthcare worker safety and should be placed in every applicable room. Use a “BIOHAZARD” label to warn of its contents, in florescent orange or orange red with letters and symbols in contrasting colors.
Safety Cabinet for Hazardous Materials
Hazardous material cabinets in hospitals are important to segregate and clearly identify hazardous chemicals. Common hazardous material cabinets found in hospitals are pharmaceuticals, radiological, disinfectants, chemicals for cleaning and laboratory chemicals. Using hazmat safety cabinets to store volatile chemicals may protect healthcare workers in case of fire or other dangerous chemical reactions.
Emergency Preparedness Storage Cabinet
Hospitals and urgent medical care facilities need to have a plan of action in case an emergency arises. Healthcare workers need quick access to emergency supplies. Highly-visible emergency preparedness cabinet are suitable for storing flashlights, radios, respirators, first aid items and other emergency protective equipment.
Decontamination Spill Berm
Decontamination spill berms are important to keep on site in a hospital in case decontamination procedures must be executed. For patient and healthcare worker safety, anyone exposed to hazardous chemicals can wash down inside the decontamination berm, which captures all hazardous chemical runoff for treatment and disposal.
Healthcare Worker Injury Statistics
There are 1,745,915 competitors in the healthcare industry. Outperform the market. Justrite’s healthcare safety equipment makes you a leader in safety, workplace protections, and environmental care.
Rate of Occupational Hazards Among Healthcare Workers
The healthcare industry sees 3.9 injuries per 100 employees each year.1.1 percent of your employees will take time off work as a result, and .8 percent will need to transfer to a new job or restrict their tasks.
OSHA Standards for Healthcare and Resulting Inspections Penalties
In the healthcare industry, there are roughly 299 inspections each year. The industry spends $1,720,475 in penalties, amounting to $5,754 in penalties for each inspection. Being compliant with OSHA guidelines for healthcare workers can help keep penalties low and your reputation intact.
Contain and Manage Your Environmental Waste
The healthcare industry generates an estimated 16,220 tons of waste each year. Keep your hazardous waste safely, ethically, and compliantly contained and managed with Justrite equipment.