Nurses in South Carolina work for the health of their patients. However, these workers may want to consider their own safety while on the job. Some of the biggest risks for health care workers are sharps-related injuries, workplace violence and contact with allergens and toxic substances.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries are a major risk to nurses. A needlestick injury can expose a worker to dangerous pathogens. Laws protect workers by mandating safe practices for needles. However, workers are advised to be aware of the requirements and make sure that their employers comply with them.
Latex gloves are another cause for workplace injuries at health care facilities. These gloves, which are worn to prevent contact with toxins, often contain powder that can lead to rashes or allergic reactions in some people. It is recommended that workers wash their hands immediately after removing latex gloves and avoid using oil-based lotions that can break down the latex.
Nurses are also at high risk for workplace violence. The majority of violence against nurses is committed by patients, and the risk is highest for workers in mental health care. There are no federal laws to protect nurses from workplace violence; although, many states have regulations to curb the problem. Nurses are advised to be aware of their patients’ histories and stay alert when working with individuals who have a history of violence.
Workplace accidents for nurses and other health care workers could result in serious illnesses if an accident exposes a worker to a blood-borne pathogen. The result could cause financial hardship, with medical bills compounded by lost income if the worker is unable to work due to the accident. Any worker who is injured or becomes ill due to something that happens at work has a legal right to file a workers’ compensation claim if their employer provides coverage.