Healthcare is Canada’s largest service industry. Its ever-evolving landscape is made up of a number of different sectors that provide medical services, manufacture medical equipment and drugs, provide medical insurance or otherwise facilitate the provision of healthcare to patients.
Healthcare workers face a wide range of hazards on the job including exposure to hazardous chemicals and drugs, physical violence and more.
Employers have a duty to carefully evaluate the potential for employees to be exposed to these hazards and ensure that they’ve put an effective control plan into place.
Common Hazards in the Healthcare Industry:
Caring for yourself while caring for others is an everyday reality for those who work in the healthcare industry, and the hazards are as varied as the occupations within the sector.
Nurses confront potential hazards like exposure to infectious diseases and toxic substances, back injuries, radiation exposure and work-related stress. Housekeepers may be exposed to cleaners and disinfectants, infectious diseases, heavy lifting and sharp objects. Maintenance workers may confront electrical, working at heights, asbestos, solvent and confined space hazards.
Healthcare hazards can generally be divided into four primary categories:
- Hazardous Agents can include biological agents, chemical agents, disinfectants and sterilants, antibiotics, waste anesthetic gases and hazardous waste. These agents can be found almost anywhere within healthcare facilities. Examples include the operating room, physical plant, laundry, food services, labs, radiology and office areas.
- Ergonomic hazards include lifting, repetitive motion, standing or sitting for long periods of time and eye strain. Overexertion (including lifting) is the number one cause of injury and illness for health services.
- Physical hazards include exposures to toxic, reactive, corrosive or flammable compressed gases and chemicals, extreme temperatures that may cause burns or heat stress, mechanical hazards that may cause cuts, punctures or abrasions, electrical hazards, radiation, noise, dust, violence and slips and falls.
- Psychological hazards are related to discrimination, technological changes, malfunctioning equipment, tight work schedules, downsizing, overwork, under staffing, paperwork, increased facility size and bureaucracy, violence, dependent and demanding patients and patient deaths. All of these factors contribute to stress, fatigue, anger and frustration. Workers are most likely to encounter severe stress in intensive care units, burn units, emergency rooms and operating rooms.
Being aware of potential health hazards and taking the necessary precautions to eliminate or control the exposure is essential to prevent injury and illness in healthcare facilities.
We offer numerous products that offer solutions to the hazards found in the healthcare industry. You can find the best respiratory protection, personal protective equipment, hazardous material storage and environmental monitoring solutions to keep workers safe. We’ve partnered with leading vendors like 3M, Honeywell, Particles Plus, Sibata and ChemDAQ to bring the most innovative and cost-effective solutions to your health and safety program.
Our dedicated Calibration and Repair team will work to ensure that your monitoring equipment is ready when it’s needed. Additional services like respirator fit testing as well as audits on hazardous material storage, emergency showers/eyewashes and gloves can help identify areas of improvement within your facilities. Other Services include:
Training can be provided on all products and services we support including respirator fit testing, indoor air quality and environmental monitoring equipment, fire extinguisher use and confined space entry.