Working in a hospital is far more dangerous than the average person realizes. Hospital workers get injured more frequently than construction workers based on job injury statistics. Most of those injuries relate to overexertion while providing patient care. Roughly half of all lost-time incidents at hospitals result from employees overexerting themselves and the bodily reaction that occurs afterward.
Other major causes of workplace injury include contact with dangerous objects and falls. However, violence is one of the top causes of hospital worker injuries. It is responsible for roughly 9% of all reported lost-time incidents.
Why is violence such a major issue in modern hospitals?
People need medical care while under the influence
If someone drinks too much and becomes aggressive and violent, they may wind up at the hospital for alcohol poisoning. They could become aggressive toward the workers trying to protect them from lasting consequences caused by their substance abuse.
There are also those who have adverse reactions to medication and who become combative as a result. Intoxication or impairment can make people irrational and can lead to injuries to the workers trying to help them.
Older adults may struggle with situational understanding
Growing older often comes with some degree of cognitive decline. Adults in immediate need of emergency medical support may become frightened at their unfamiliar surroundings and could lash out at the people attempting to help them. Despite being of advanced age, these patients can sometimes prove much stronger than you might expect in moments of fear or frustration.
Criminals and inmates also need medical support
Hospitals frequently provide direct support for those in state custody and for those under arrest but not yet convicted of a crime. Someone aware that the police will transport them to jail after their discharge might attack staff members to secure their freedom, and the same is true of a prison inmate currently undergoing care at a hospital or a serious medical issue like cancer.
Hospital employees who suffer injuries caused by violence at work can seek workers’ compensation benefits. In some cases, they may also have a third-party liability claim against the individual who harmed them or others who contributed to the dangerous situation.
Identifying your biggest safety risks as a hospital worker will help you make use of the systems in place for your protection.