5 Common Healthcare Accidents at Work

Healthcare

Healthcare workers have a demanding profession that requires employees to work long hour shifts. Being such an unpredictable and fast-paced environment, there is a higher risk of medical professionals suffering from an accident at work. Suffering an accident at work due to negligence can be traumatic. Watching loved ones injured from these situations is difficult, particularly if the injuries are severe.

Back Injuries

With the day-to-day requirements demanded from health professionals including quick movements, twisting, bending and heavy lifting, back injuries can easily occur. Whether a slipped disc or simple back pain, repetitive motions place a lot of stress on both the spinal cord and the back muscles.

Repetitive Stress or Overexertion

Musculoskeletal injuries are a high risk factor for healthcare professionals, which translates to pain in nerves, tendons, and muscles caused by repetitive strain or overuse. The more affected areas are typically the wrists and hands, neck and shoulders, and forearms and elbows.

Common symptoms can be:

  • Throbbing
  • Aching, pain, or tenderness
  • Cramps
  • Weakness
  • Stiffness
  • Numbness or tingling

While initially these symptoms may only be noticeable when carrying out specific, repetitive actions, lack of treatment may worsen the symptoms and lengthen the periods of pain.

Needlestick injuries

Also called sharps injuries, these types of injuries can also include broken equipment shards or scalpels. Used needles can carry viruses such as hepatitis C, hepatitis B, or HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). The NHS advises that a few steps should be followed if contaminated needles have pierced the skin:

  • The wound should immediately be encouraged to bleed by holding under running water.
  • The wound needs to be washed with running water and soap, without scrubbing.
  • Drying the wound and covering with it waterproof dressings or plasters is ideal.
  • Contact the Occupational Health service at your work.
  • Seek medical advice urgently, by calling your GP, 111, or going to A&E.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

With the potential of causing a wide number of serious injuries, slips and falls are common in the healthcare industry. Hospitals and other clinics have hazards that can cause slips, trips, and falls. Liquids are spilled on the floor and lead to slipping, with damaged flooring and medical tubing potentially causing trips and falls.

With healthcare professionals always being on the move, these slips, trips, and falls can lead to injuries such as fractures, especially if there are objects or medical equipment in the vicinity.

Head Injuries

Head injuries due to an accident at work can be very debilitating and lead to lifelong issues. Some symptoms of a severe head injury can be seizures, loss of consciousness, memory loss, seizures, inability to focus eyes or abnormal eye movements, or disorientation.

  • Hemorrhage. Uncontrolled breathing can occur within the brain tissue or in the space around the brain. It can cause pressure buildup over time.
  • Hematoma. A clotting or collection of blood outside blood vessels, a brain hematoma can be fatal. Pressure buildup can lead to loss of consciousness or permanent brain damage.
  • Concussion. This brain injury, depending on severity, can cause temporary or permanent brain damage.
  • Skull fracture. A broken skull can often mean that there is a serious brain injury.
  • Edema. These can be caused by any brain injury and lead to swelling in the brain. As the skull doesn’t stretch to accommodate the swelling, pressure buildup occurs.
  • Diffuse axonal injury. Although not causing bleeding, this type of injury damages brain damage. Extremely dangerous, this injury may not always be apparent and it can eventually be fatal.

Depending on the severity of the injury, long-term care and treatment may be needed. Whether you or a loved one has suffered an accident at work, you may wish to consider making a claim.