Healthcare Safety

From: Jeremy Olivier, Lofton Safety Services

May 3, 2022

The day-to-day hazards nurses face during a shift can include musculoskeletal injuries, trips and falls, sharp object punctures, infections and chemical exposure, not to mention mental health stress. Although not everything can be avoided, it helps to know what can happen to help prevent future injuries. 



Rotating shift workers have experienced long-term insomnia and excessive sleepiness. Sleep loss makes people sleepier while awake, which may affect their ability to perform activities safely and efficiently, both on and off the job.  Sleepiness is most apparent during the night shift, and poor daytime sleep appears to be a contributing factor.



A major issue for healthcare workers is the lack of time available with family and friends. Work often conflicts with school activities, child care services, holidays, birthdays, and other family social functions. The day-to-day exposure to the sick, critically ill and dying can also negatively impact mental health. The resulting strain can lead to concerns such as depression, mood changes, and relationship difficulties.



Health care work is a physically demanding job. Tasks requiring heavy lifting, bending and twisting, and other manual handling are a leading cause in health care worker injuries. In one study, nurses were found to be at particular risk of neck, shoulder, and back injury during patient transfers, which require sudden movements, flexing and rotating. Lifting and stooping were significantly associated with health care worker arm and neck complaints, whereas shoulder complaints were associated with pushing and pulling motions. These physical risk factors can affect sleep, cause increased pain medication use, and lead to excessive absenteeism.



An estimated 600,000 to 800,000 needlestick injuries occur annually, about half of which go unreported. Health care workers, laundry workers, and housekeeping workers are often engaged in duties that expose them to high-risk needlestick injuries. Safer needle devices have integrated safety features designed into the product to prevent needlestick injuries.



There are thousands of chemicals and other toxic substances that healthcare workers are exposed to on a daily basis. They include cleaners, disinfectants, sterilants, latex, pesticides, formaldehyde, ethylene oxide, glutaraldehyde and anesthetic gases.

It’s important to leverage the risks in order to improve worker safety. In the long run, these improvements will foster safety for healthcare workers and patients, alike, leading to a healthier and more effective healthcare experience.


How can Lofton Safety help?

Workers have a right to a safe workplace. If you have questions regarding safety issues or training, contact Lofton Safety Services at 337-330-2642 or For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit


About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Contact us today

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