Real Risks to Staff Health and Safety
Health care is the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy, employing more than 18 million workers. It also has one of the highest rates of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses of any industry sector.
Everyday activities that occur in the course of delivering patient care can put staff at risk. For example, workers can sustain injuries if they lift patients or heavy equipment using improper techniques. Likewise, individuals can be exposed to hazardous chemicals if these items are not properly labeled and stored. Due to the prevalence of sharp instruments, especially needles, nurses and clinical staff can inadvertently get injured—and if the patient has a communicable disease that is transmissible by pathogens that may be present in the patient’s blood or body fluids, such as with hepatitis B or C, the consequences to the employee can be severe.
Beyond the physical dangers, there are also growing threats like opioid diversion, which add layers of concern to an already precarious working environment. Due to the extensive use and presence of controlled substances in health care settings, staff are at greater risk of experiencing the effects of drug diversion than the general population.
Ensuring Safety Doesn’t Have to Be a Solo Exercise
Although the pervasiveness of risk may seem overwhelming, the good news is that health care organizations do not have to tackle these hazards alone. By working with a knowledgeable outside partner, a facility can make sure it creates, maintains and utilizes the proper policies, training programs and equipment that help to limit the chances of worker injury.
For example, Stericycle offers easy-to-navigate tools to help facilities generate comprehensive safety policies. We also have user-friendly online training modules that staff can access any time to learn about how to stay safe. Onsite training and consulting services are available for those organizations that want assistance in assessing their current environmental conditions, identifying improvement opportunities and crafting customized training programs. Stericycle also provides specially-designed equipment—such as controlled substance waste containers and puncture-resistant sharps receptacles—to ensure safe and compliant medical waste disposal.
Underpinning all our offerings is a commitment to remaining up-to-date on the latest safety rules and regulations, as well as any emerging hazards of which health care organizations should be aware. Learn how Stericycle can help your organization ensure its safety program will be reliable and effective in reducing risk both now and well into the future.