ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Reduce Hospital Employee Injuries

Updated on November 27, 2009
Reduce injuries to hospital employees
Reduce injuries to hospital employees

Hospital medical workers face varied and numerous health and injury risks while at work, including strains and sprains from lifting, chemical hazards, radiation, blood borne pathogens and infectious diseases, sharps, and security problems.  A comprehensive injury prevention program must involve a customized, in-depth survey and analysis of all significant exposures at your particular hospital.  This article will provide some steps to get you started on controlling the more common injury risks to medical workers.  These are vital in reducing injuries and workers' compensation insurance.

Safe Lifting

Implement a safe lifting and back safety program. Exposure to injury and strains is caused by the need to lift, assist, or transfer patients. Elements to consider in the program include:

  • Teach proper body mechanics and lifting at new hire orientation and then periodically throughout employment.
  • Implement a lift policy. Most hospitals have a maximum lift weight of 25 to 35 pounds; employees who must lift over that amount require assistance from a lift team or a mechanical device.
  • Evaluate each patient on admission and determine whether the patient is able to move without assistance. Place an order above the patient’s bed defining what lift procedures, if any, must be used for that person. These may range from simple assistance, such as offering an arm to steady the resident, to a requirement for mechanical assistance or a team lift at all times.
  • Ensure an adequate number of employees are available for team lifts on each shift.
  • Ensure mechanical devices such as Hoyer lifts, gait belts, and transfer belts or sheets are available in every unit. Employees should not have to search these out because they may decide it is too much trouble and not use them.

Infection Control

Implement an infection control plan.  Employees are potentially exposed to blood borne diseases or other biological agents.  Consider these elements in your plan:

  • Screen all new employees for tuberculosis and hepatitis and offer the hepatitis B vaccine.
  • Implement protocols for universal precautions, proper use of personal protective equipment, hand washing procedures, equipment sterilization, waste management, and good housekeeping.  A sample Infection Control Plan is included under Resources.
  • Implement a Blood Borne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan.   This is required by OSHA regulations and must include an exposure determination, methods of compliance, post exposure evaluations and follow-up, employee training, and proper record keeping.  A sample Blood Borne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan is included under Resources.
  • Ensure that all departments have a sharps handling and disposal program in place and employees receive annual training.

Working with cytotoxic substances
Working with cytotoxic substances

Chemical Hazards

Implement a chemical hazard handling plan. Your medical workers may be exposed to compressed and anesthetic gasses; cleaning agents such as glutaraldehyde, bleach, disinfectants; chemotherapeutic agents; and other organic compounds.

  • Provide chemical hazard communication training at new hire orientation and then periodically as required by law.
  • Make spill kits available for chemical or biological spills and train employees in appropriate clean-up procedures.
  • Employees who work with cytotoxic or anti-neoplastic (cancer fighting) drugs must be specially trained to handle these carcinogens. These drugs and other potentially hazardous chemicals or substances must be prepared under fume hoods.

Radiation

Implement a Radiation control plan.   Ensure that employees who may be exposed to ionizing radiation wear lead aprons and follow strict protocols to ensure that they are behind partitions that shield them from harmful exposure.  Require the use of radiation badges.   Ensure that female employees who are pregnant are assigned other duties that do not expose them to the risk of ionizing radiation.  Sample control plans are provided in the Resources box.

Security

Improve security. Employees are potentially exposed to attacks from patients who are suffering from dementia or other psychiatric illness, or from intruders who enter the hospital searching for drugs. Some employees report to or leave work during the night and are exposed to attacks from persons outside the hospital. Hire a private security company to provide on-site personnel to patrol the grounds between dusk and dawn, and assign some to permanent stations in the main hospital lobby and near entrances. Provide a security office from which they may be summoned by an alarm if there is an emergency.

Provide special training to employees who work in Alzheimer or psychiatric units. Ensure they know how to avoid such patients, but know how to protect themselves from assault.  Develop a written policy regarding use of restraints with violent, demented, or psychotic patients. Enforce the requirements uniformly.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      VIKRAM VIKAS NIGAM, B. PHARMA, MHA 

      6 years ago

      FIERCE PIECE OF KNOWLEDGE, EN LIGHTING THE CORE CONCEPT OF 'EMPLOYEE & THEIR SAFETY'. BUT A CONTINUOUS MONITORING IS REQUIRE TO SUSTAIN THE IMPLEMENTED PROGRAME.

    • Support Med. profile image

      Support Med. 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      Such an important topic, and even more so in today's world. Voted/rated.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)