The hospital environment has a variety of hazards that pose risks to the staff’s health and well-being. Slips, trips and falls are common in a health care setting, and these kinds of accidents can have severe implications for those involved, from minor bruising to traumatic brain injuries.
It’s important to know why they happen and what hospital management can do to prevent them.
Health care facility hazards
Hospital employees work in a unique environment. While workplace hazards are common in most industries, the risk is increased in a health care setting.
Common causes of slips, trips and falls include:
- Wet, slippery floors from spills or tracked-in water
- Obstacles in walking paths
- Electrical cords, IVs and oxygen tubing stretched across the floor
- Tight workspaces with medical equipment
- Changes in floor texture or elevation without proper signage
- Poor lighting
- Uneven surfaces and cracked flooring
- Improper footwear
Employers should conduct regular inspections to identify potential hazards and work on solutions to mitigate fall risks. Staff should also be reminded to clean up spills as soon as possible and promote the use of wet floor signs. Using non-slip mats where possible and ensuring employees wear proper footwear can also help reduce the potential for falls.
Most people don’t realize the possible consequences of a fall. A fall may result in bruising and some aches. However, many medical workers receive sprains, broken bones and concussions. A severe fall can lead to numerous doctor visits and significant time off work.
Creating a safe environment in hospitals is imperative in preventing slips and falls. If you have an accident at work, you need to report the incident immediately and follow workplace procedures for seeking medical attention. Workers’ compensation will help cover your expenses if an injury requires you to take time off work to recover.