Did you know that for every 100 healthcare employees, there are 6.4 work-related injuries and illnesses? I just found this out recently, but it makes a lot of sense. When we are caring for our patients, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. We all learned in our training that you need to be careful when lifting patients, but it’s easy to forget in the moment and injure your back. And careful lifting is just one precaution we need to take.

Ever slipped on a wet floor in your nursing facility? Since there’s no “off-time” in which to wash floors, there are always healthcare professionals walking around while the floor is being washed. If the cleaners aren’t careful, they can leave puddles or wet spots that are dangerous. Even if the cleaners do a great job, it’s still possible to slip and hurt yourself. That’s why I wear non-slip shoes. Every time I am tempted to come to work in comfortable plastic shoes, I remind myself how slippery they are and choose other shoes.

And then there’s the risk of infection. There are many contagious illnesses in any nursing facility, so I am very careful to wear the appropriate protective gear whenever I am with patients. I also protect myself with a mask as much as possible, even with the other employees, and not just because of Covid.

Another danger in nursing facilities is violence from patients. Some of my patients are not aware or able to control their anger and most of them don’t realize their own strength. I have learned to ask for help as soon as it looks like a situation might get violent. If I wait until the situation gets out of hand, I could get hurt before help comes. As soon as the incident is over, I report it to management, to ensure that proper measures are taken so that it doesn’t happen again.

I believe that safety at work is everyone’s responsibility. The administration at the facility needs to maintain a safe environment for its employees and the employees need to dress and act in a way which protects them as much as possible from illness and injury. This World Day for Safety and Health at Work, I wish you all a safe and healthy work experience!