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Occupational Safety Facts About Hospital Staff Injuries

Occupational Health professionals pride themselves in providing the best preventative health care for those who work at hospitals and other medical facilities. At Venato, our job is to provide a software solution that makes the lives of occ health professionals easier and more productive. “Making Occ Health Manageable” is our motto, so, along that line, we wanted to share 3 quick facts about occupational safety that you might find useful.

  1. Most hospital employee injuries result from a few well-known hazards.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics collects detailed data on injuries resulting in days away from work, which reveal the Top 5 Causes of Injury Among Hospital Workers:

Occupational safety causes of injury among hospital workers

Nearly half (48%) of injuries resulting in days away from work are caused by over-exertion or bodily reaction, which includes motions such as lifting, bending, or reaching. These motions often relate to patient handling.1

  1. Sprains and strains are the top hospital staff injuries leading to the most days away from work.

 Occupational safety injuries by type

Sprains and strains account for 54% of injuries that result in days away from work.1 Strains also account for the largest share of workers’ compensation claim costs for hospitals.2 In 2011, U.S. hospitals reported 16,680 cases in which workers missed work due to a musculoskeletal injury associated with patient interactions.1 In addition, 24% of nurses and nursing assistants changed shifts or took sick leave to recover from an unreported injury.3

8 of 10 nurses say they frequently work with musculoskeletal pain.4 Since most musculoskeletal injuries in the hospital setting are cumulative, any steps to minimize risks during patient handling tasks will offer substantial benefits for hospital caregivers.

  1. Safer workplaces mean better care.

Improved health and wellness for employees and patients is the goal. However, workplace injury risks are on the rise for healthcare workers for 2 key reasons:

  • Aging workforce: With age, healthcare workers become more vulnerable to infections and musculoskeltal injuries.
  • Patient obesity: Larger patients pose new challenges for safe handling.

Here are 3 areas Occ Health professionals can be aware of to improve safety for staff and patients:

  • Caregiver fatigue, injury, and stress are tied to higher risk of medication errors and patient infections.4
  • Caregivers and patients face many related hazards. For example, manual lifting can cause caregiver injury and also put patients at risk of falls, fractures, bruises, and skin tears. Fear or reluctance to move patients can lead to pressure ulcers.
  • Strategies to improve patient safety and employee safety can go hand-in-hand—from high reliability management systems to specific steps like reducing slippery floors.

At Venato, we understand the critical nature of your job, and that and your time is precious as you’re caring for patients and staff. We know that you want to be focused on things that proactively prevent hospital workplace injuries to improve occupational safety, not on paperwork and administrative tasks that can and should be automated. Venato is a comprehensive, advanced occupational health management solution that enables you to track, trend, and report on employee health data instantly. At your fingertips, you can trend health event history by employee, job title, or department and know exactly where to focus your time through training and process improvements. To see how Venato can lighten your workload, join us for an upcoming webinar. Don’t forget to ask about our risk-free, money back Satisfaction Guarantee!


Note: Information for this blog was sourced from “OSHA Worker Safety in Your Hospital”

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2013. For detailed citations, see OSHA’s “Facts About Hospital Worker Safety” at

2 National Council on Compensation Insurance. 2013. Hospital Workers’ Compensation Claims for Policy Years 2005-2009

3 Siddharthan, K., M. Hodgson, D. Rosenberg, D. Haiduven, and A. Nelson.  2006. Under-reporting of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the Veterans Administration. International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance.  19(6): 463-476.

4 American Nurses Association. 2011. 2011 Health and Safety Survey Report.

5 Rogers, A.E., W.T. Hwang, and L.D. Scott.  2004.  The effects of work breaks on staff nurse performance.  Journal of Nursing Administration.  34(11): 512-519

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