Hospitals and long-term care homes would not be able to function without the hard work of their certified nursing assistants (CNAs). These are the people providing hands-on care to the patients and the ones who are most likely to get hurt on the job.
While CNAs face many hazards in their workplace, these are at the top of the list.
The job of a CNA is physically demanding, requiring the lifting and transferring of patients, repetitive motions, and long periods of standing. All of these can impact their muscles, tendons, joints, and spinal cord, leading to chronic pain and disability.
A sharps injury occurs when a needle or other sharp object, such as a razor, used for patient care pierces the skin. This can lead to serious bloodborne infections, such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.
CNAs are regularly exposed to workplace violence in the form of verbal abuse, threats, and physical attacks, often from patients and family members. It is prevalent in nursing homes where CNAs are regularly struck, grabbed, or bitten by residents with dementia.
Slips, trips and falls
Wet floors, cluttered spaces, poorly lit places, electrical cords on medical devices, and the process of lifting and transferring residents can all lead to slips, trips and falls. Injuries can range from minor bruising to severe conditions such as broken bones or concussions.
Healthcare administrators have an obligation to provide a safe work environment for their employees. This may include implementing safety protocols, providing the proper equipment and training for lifts and transfers, and maintaining a clean, well-lit facility.
CNAs must also know that if they are hurt at work, they are entitled to receive workers’ compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages during their recovery.