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Dangers in the health care workplace

Health care facilities in North Carolina have the potential to be dangerous to their employees. Basic awareness of some of the inherent risks of the health care profession can lead directly to greater workplace safety. Preventative action by employers can have beneficial effects as well.

For example, latex allergies can be a serious problem to those who are affected by them. There is a vast amount of latex in an average hospital, and the gloves and other protective gear can have an accretive effect on the system of those who are allergic. This problem can be avoided if the employer also provides non-latex protective gear.

Mental health care facilities are another area that bring specific challenges. The dangers presented by mentally unstable individuals should not be disregarded. Unfortunately, no way to prevent workplace violence completely is yet known, but there are several methods by which it may be mitigated.

According to data compiled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more than 250,000 reports of on-the-job injuries and occupational illnesses were made in 2011. A study has shown that more than 12 percent of emergency room nurses are the target of physical violence in an average work week.

Health care workers who are injured on the job are in most cases eligible to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits under their employer's insurance coverage. These benefits can include medical care and in some cases partial wage replacement. An attorney can often be of assistance in ensuring that the required claim is complete and filed within the time period specified by law.

Source: Minority Nurse, "Workplace Health and Safety Tips for Nurses", Rachel Oliver, June 14, 2016

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