Friday, March 11, 2016

Staying Safe at Work

Staying safe in the workplace is important to maintaining your personal health and longevity in your career. This can be particularly challenging in health care environments where there are multiple hazards that workers face every day. There are numerous issues that can occur during one shift of nursing or other health care work activities. Here are a few reminders of how you can maintain your safety in the health care workplace.  
Basic Steps You Can Take
There are a variety of ways you can stay safe in the work environment in general. In order to prevent injuries, make sure you wear protective gear, take breaks to relax and stretch your muscles, lift items or people using safe lifting processes, check that your equipment and uniforms are a fit for your body, and ask about any health resources that are available. 
There are other general precautions you can take to prevent injury or illness, including getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress in an appropriate way, eating a healthy diet and staying active. These steps help ensure you support your body with positive health.

Good health is one of the cornerstones of staying safe at work. If you compromise your health by losing sleep and not dealing with stress, this can have a negative impact on your safety at work.

Nurses and Safety
Safety is one of the number one issues that face employees who work for a heath care organization. Because health care is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country, preserving the health of this worker population is important to economic growth and development. Health care workers face a number of safety hazards, including:
·       Stress
·       Needle stick injuries
·       Back injuries
·       Violence
·       Latex allergies
The exposure to these hazards cannot be eliminated. However, strategies to avoid or reduce occurrence and limit the impact of these safety issues can be adopted. Be sure to follow your facility or agency policies carefully, and be proactive in suggesting improvements. Nursing staff face the highest risk for exposure to these conditions and issues. Nurses need to be tested for TB yearly, and be trained to protect themselves from these hazards. This training should be an annual event and include:
·       How to avoid musculoskeletal injury and other soft tissue injuries
·       How to use safe lifting procedures and mechanical lifting devices
·       How to advocate for safety measures to curb any potential violence issues in your facility
·       How to safeguard against needle sticks
·       Why wearing gloves is an important protection measure
·       What consistent safety procedures are required, for example, a yearly flu shot
Protect Yourself
Health care workers and nurses in particular face a number of safety hazards on the job. Protecting yourself from these hazards is essential to continued career longevity and reduced injury. Measures should be adopted by organizations that help to prevent injury and support health care workers at they try to stay safe at work. 

Jennifer E. Landis
Health Journalist

Thanks Jennifer!