Workplace hazards in health care: Are you at risk?

If you work in a health care field in Alabama, you may take it for granted that you will be exposed to some of the illnesses of patients that are seeking treatment. Viruses and infectious diseases are not the only threats you face, though. According to Infection Control Today, exposure to the very products used to create a safer, more sterile environment is actually an occupational hazard.

One study determined that health care workers who are exposed to powdered latex gloves and disinfecting and cleaning products are more likely to develop new-onset asthma. You could be at higher risk of a respiratory illness if you are exposed to chemicals that include the following:

  •          Medications in aerosol form
  •          Antibiotics
  •          Sensitizing metals
  •          Formaldehyde

Exposure hazards extend to those with janitorial responsibilities, as well as medical professionals and other staff who have duties in environmental or surgical services and sterilization.

In addition to inhaling fumes, researchers indicate that if your skin comes in contact with some substances, it could increase your chances of developing work-related health problems. Personal protective equipment that includes gloves, masks and eyewear are recommended to reduce the dangers related to common chemicals used in health care settings.

These exposures and risks are almost certainly contributors to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s assessment listing health care workers as some of the most likely to sustain occupational injuries and illnesses. Understanding job risks can be important no matter what field you are in. This information is provided for educational purposes, but it should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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