High Rate of Injuries for Nurses

Nurses frequently face workplace hazards while performing their routine job duties. On any given day, a nurse may be exposed to hazardous substances or physical risks. While much of the training a nurse goes through prepares them to avoid these risks, they’re not immune to injury. Contact a trusted San Jose workers compensation lawyer to discuss your case today.

Nursing Injury Statistics

The most common nursing injuries are overexertion and bodily reactions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overexertion accounted for approximately 46% of nursing injury cases, while falls, slips, and trips accounted for 25% of injuries in 2016. In addition, most injuries occur to female nurses between the ages of 35 and 74.

Common Injuries Nurses Face

There are several categories that are the most common injuries among nurses:

  • Overexertion and bodily injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost half of all nonfatal nursing injuries are due to overexertion. These injuries are primarily caused by excessive physical effort or repetitive motions, for example, lifting patients. This typically results in strains, sprains, or back injuries.
  • Falls, slips, and trips. Unfortunately, these types of injuries are generally preventable. Most of these injuries result from environmental hazards such as wet floors or cords stretching across walking areas.
  • Equipment injuries. Injuries sustained from equipment can be anything from running into hanging equipment or being exposed to a hazard like used needles. These types of injuries, while not common, can have grave consequences for nurses, such as contracting an infection such as HIV or Hepatitis C.
  • Violent injuries caused by people. While not the most common of injuries, nurses may experience violence from patients. It has also been noted that many of these types of injuries go unreported. For some nurses, reporting these injuries can be time-consuming, and depending on the facility, a nurse may feel that reporting the injury won’t lead to any substantive change.
  • Understaffing. Understaffing isn’t an injury in the traditional sense, but it is a leading cause of burnout and stress-related ailments for those in the medical profession. In addition, when nurses are working in facilities that are understaffed, it can lead to an increase in the injuries listed above as nurses are working faster and may have to handle the heavy lifting, large equipment, or potentially violent patients without support.

Preventing Injuries for Nurses

It’s not possible to eliminate the risk of injury for nurses, but there are a few ways that nurses can help prevent serious injury:

  • Use available resources. The easiest way to avoid overexertion is to not participate in strenuous activities. For nurses, that is not always an option, but there are resources available that can help. Nurses should make sure to use any available technologies, such as motorized lifts, or seek assistance from a colleague.
  • Get the right shoes. Shoes can do more than just keep your feet comfortable. Having sturdy, secure shoes can help to prevent slips, trips, or falls and can encourage better posture and decrease the stress put on the back.
  • Speak up. If nurses see ways their facilities can create safer workspaces, it’s important that they speak up, and not just to their employer. The fight for nurses’ safety has become much more of a public issue, with OSHA setting new guidelines on workplace violence in the healthcare industry and the enactment of the Federal Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act.