Healthcare workers are today’s modern-day heroes. In exchange for the love and care they provide to their patients, they often put their own lives at risk. Imagine being in a workplace where you know you’re exposed to a lot of diseases, hazards, viruses, and bacteria. These can be detrimental to their own health and well-being.
For this reason, it’s a must that hospitals and other medical-related institutions practice the topmost safety. It’s a big loss to the community if healthcare workers succumb to their work hazards. While this risk is inherently present, proper sanitation and safety practices can make lower the happenstance of these risks significantly.
That said, here are some important workplace safety tips that healthcare workers must absolutely apply:
- Train and Re-Train the Healthcare Workers
It’s not enough to settle for only one training for the healthcare workers. Even when you think they’re already well-trained, there’s always room to refresh their memory. This would include not just what they’ve learned in books, but even the practical aspect of their practice, like wearing the right protective gear, medical gown, and other necessary protection when working, and operating dangerous equipment.
For instance, with advancements in technology, there are so many types of equipment in the medical industry that these healthcare workers use for more efficient and accurate care. Without the necessary training, some of these may become hazardous for their health due to constant exposure. Think of all the imaging devices that emit high radiation.
Training your employees can keep them safe, as they know how to operate things accurately and how to do their job with little to no mistake at all.
- Be Extra Careful When Lifting
Particularly when caring for the elderly, young kids, or immobile patients, heavy lifting is often part of the job. If not careful, this can seriously injure the nurse, caregiver, or the nurse aide who does the job.
If assigned to these tasks, it’s very important to take extra care and caution when lifting. Whenever possible, you may want to use medical aids. If there’s a patient whom you know to be too difficult for you to handle physically, make it a point to seek the help of other co-workers.
- Put Up Proper Labels and Signs
Signs and labels may seem like only a small thing, but these can spell all the difference between staying safe and falling into a workplace accident.
In many cases, it’s as simple as putting safety warnings when the floor has just been disinfected and is still wet. Healthcare workers are always on the go, and if not careful, they can slip. While a small accident, in some instances, can lead to serious back injuries.
There’s always a label and sign for everything, so be sure that the workplace doesn’t lack this.
- Work in Pairs, Whenever Possible
Having a buddy system in the workplace is always great. For example, a doctor can be paired with a resident or an intern for every patient. A nurse can also be paired up with a trainee nurse or a nurse aide.
Employing this kind of system can help share the physical load between two people. Accidents can happen when workers are overworked or are too tired. More so, when they’ve got too much on their plate, they may accidentally forget important information. Working in pairs helps ensure that each healthcare worker is always accounted for.
- Keep the Workplace Clean
A messy workplace can lead to accidents. There may be sharp objects lying everywhere, toxic waste, wrappers, or peelings. Hence, as much as possible, it’s very important to keep the workplace clean.
In almost all medical settings, there’s always a separate department assigned to keep each floor clean. But this doesn’t mean that the healthcare workers will rely on the cleaners to do their job. If there are small, cleaning jobs they can do by themselves, then don’t wait until later to do it.
For instance, picking things up and putting them back where they belong or discarding any hazardous waste. They can also keep themselves accountable for their workstation to ensure that there are no tangled cords, broken plugs of equipment, or any disorganized tools.
- Report Any Hazard Right Away
Whenever there’s a potential hazard in any area of the hospital, make it a point to report this right away. For example, a patient may have accidentally spilled their water. Unlike vomit and urine, water is relatively less disturbing. Some may not put this off as urgent to request for a clean-up and sanitation. But, while it’s cleaner, it’s not less of a danger.
Other patients can fall victim to this, and most importantly health workers who aren’t aware of the wet floor. Think of a nurse that suddenly comes in to check on the patient, is in a rush to get out and then slips.
Hence, an important system to have in the workplace is to report any hazard right away. In doing so, these are immediately addressed before a bigger accident can even happen.
- Encourage Breaks
As of writing, some medical institutions might find it difficult to apply this tip. Unfortunately, many health workers today are working longer hours and with lesser breaks. Hospitals are just too congested, and there are too many patients to attend to.
Unfortunately, overworking the health workers is actually counterproductive. They may be able to attend to all the needs of their patients, but they’re neglecting their own. This means that one of these days, they’ll succumb to their own fatigue. Not only can they get sick, but they could also potentially meet an accident in the workplace.
Hence, a better practice would be to encourage sufficient rest, meals, water, and stretch breaks. When healthcare workers are better rested, they become more productive and healthier workers. Plus, they also pose a lesser risk of danger to all other workers around them.
- Prioritize Careful Needle Handling
If there’s one very small thing but very dangerous material in the hospital, it’s the needles. As a given, they’re physically sharp and can cause cuts. Especially for used needles, these are also infectious wastes. There are so many diseases that can be passed on one to another because of poor needle handling.
First off, gloves are always a must. But, do ensure that everyone assigned to work with needles know how to handle these correctly. By handling, this also includes proper disposal.
Healthcare workers are one of the most important, but also most vulnerable sectors of society. In taking care of the safety and health of their patients, they often neglect their own. In the busy workplace that healthcare workers belong to, it’s not uncommon to find that some may be practicing poor health and safety practices. The tips above can effectively correct these mistakes. That way, justice and due credence are given to the healthcare workers for all of the efforts they put in.