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If you are a nurse or nursing assistant, your job is to help others stay healthy and safe, but did you know your occupation puts you at a unique risk for injury? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), hospital workers experience twice the rate of injuries than the national average of all private workers. 

There are many causes of hospital injuries, from contact with sharp objects to overexertion. Below is an overview of five common workplace hazards facing hospital employees.

1. Overexertion

The top cause of hospital caregiver injuries resulting in time away from work is overexertion. Lifting, reaching and bending can cause your body to react negatively. These instances usually involve patient handling. For example, you could sustain a back injury from lifting a patient. Various sprains, strains and injuries result in workers compensation claims at hospitals. 

2. Slips, trips and falls

It is easy to slip or trip on something at a hospital. The floor may be slippery from spilled liquids or bodily fluids, and hallways may be cluttered with boxes or equipment. These hazards can result in bruises, soreness, fractures and head injuries. 

3. Contact with objects

As a health care worker, you routinely come into contact with medical instruments that are potentially dangerous. Needlesticks and other sharp devices can cut or puncture your skin. 

4. Violence

Working in a hospital puts you at a unique risk of violence. Sometimes, patients are mentally ill or criminals and act out against caregivers. Violent actions can result in various injuries such as brain trauma, fractures and cuts. 

5. Exposure to substances

You might come into contact with hazardous substances that are toxic, harmful or irritating. This can result in various health issues such as asthma, burns, dermatitis, eyesight damage, respiratory impairment and cancer. Contact with bodily fluids could also result in bloodborne diseases such as hepatitis or HIV/AIDS.