Even people who work in the health care industry providing care to others are vulnerable to occupational injuries. Some of the highest injury rates in the health care sector affect nurses because of the often physical nature of their work and the risk of exposure to harmful substances and hazardous materials.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, factors such as work environment and worker age affect the type of occupational injuries that nurses receive as well as their severity.
What causes nurses' occupational injuries?
Nurses are about five times as likely as workers in other occupations to experience injuries due to violence or the actions of another person. The incidence of injuries due to falls, slips and trips was similar for nurses compared to all other occupations, accounting for approximately 25% of all workplace injuries in either case. The most common cause of nurses' occupational injuries was overexertion and bodily reaction. These injuries were approximately 10% more frequent for nurses than for all other occupations.
How does the type of workplace affect the cause of injury?
Certain types of injuries occur among nurses more often in certain types of facilities. For example, overexertion injuries are most likely to occur in hospitals, while falls occur most often in residential care facilities, such as nursing homes.
What effect does age have on nurses' injuries?
Nurses over the age of 45 are much more likely to sustain occupational injuries than those who are younger. Not only that, but older nurses typically experience much more severe injuries.
Knowing when and how occupational injuries are more likely to occur may help nurses and their employers take steps to mitigate the risk.