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Causes of severe injuries that affect healthcare workers

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2024 | workers' compensation

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are important pillars of society, helping to ensure the well-being and recovery of patients. Unfortunately, their demanding work environments put them at risk of various injuries.

Injuries facing healthcare workers may range from mild piercings to severe exposure to infectious diseases. Some of the severe injuries that healthcare workers are most at risk of suffering can be caused by the following.

Chemical and drug exposure

Healthcare workers are constantly handling various chemicals and drugs as part of their daily tasks, including cleaning agents, disinfectants, chemotherapy drugs and medications. Exposure to these substances can occur through accidental spills, splashes or inhalation, leading to severe health consequences such as chemical burns, respiratory issues, neurological damage and systemic toxicity. Long-term exposure may also increase the risk of developing chronic conditions or even certain types of cancer.

Assault related injuries

The hospital environment can sometimes escalate tensions and lead to confrontations, resulting in healthcare workers being physically assaulted or injured by patients or their family members. This risk is particularly prevalent in emergency departments, psychiatric units and other high-stress areas where individuals may be experiencing heightened emotions or mental health crises. These assaults can cause severe physical injuries such as fractures, head trauma, lacerations and contusions as well as psychological trauma like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.

Exposure to infectious agents

Healthcare workers are constantly exposed to various infectious agents in their line of work. This exposure can occur through contact with patients’ bodily fluids, aerosolized particles or contaminated surfaces. Common infectious diseases encountered by healthcare workers include influenza, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and more recently, COVID-19. Infections acquired on the job can lead to severe illness, hospitalization and even death in extreme cases.

Radiation exposure

Healthcare workers who perform diagnostic imaging procedures such as X-rays, CT scans and fluoroscopy are at risk of radiation exposure. Prolonged or repeated exposure to ionizing radiation can lead to severe health consequences, including radiation burns, tissue damage and an increased risk of developing cancer, particularly leukemia and other malignancies.

Hospitals should put in place proper measures to protect healthcare workers. In case of injury, affected healthcare workers have the right to seek legal recourse and pursue compensation to which they are entitled.


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