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Worker wellness: Chemical safety and compliance

Medical Environment Update, October 1, 2018

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 Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of stories addressing the common types of injuries that can strike healthcare workers, and how you as the safety professional can help prevent them.

Chemicals of all kinds are a daily part of life in any workplace, and healthcare clinics are no exception. From the hand soap used in your restrooms to the formaldehyde used in your labs to preserve specimens, healthcare workers are constantly under the risk of exposure to chemicals that could harm, maim, or even kill them.

Despite their inherent mission of healing others, healthcare workers still are among the most commonly injured employees—a fact that has not escaped OSHA. According to OSHA’s latest statistics, in 2010 the healthcare and social assistance industry reported more injury and illness cases than any other U.S. private industry sector: about 653,900 cases. Most of them stemmed from issues resulting from bloodborne pathogens and biological hazards, chemical and drug exposures, respiratory hazards, ergonomic hazards from lifting and repetitive tasks, workplace violence, lab hazards, and exposure to radioactive material and x-ray hazards.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Medical Environment Update.