Worker safety is an essential issue for all occupations and healthcare settings, but it’s critical in health care facilities. How the healthcare industry is protecting its workers is perhaps one of the most important things for the industry today. With the rise of the current pandemic, healthcare workers are at the frontlines of caring for people infected with the disease.
Even before the current pandemic, healthcare workers are exposed to a variety of risks throughout their workday. These risks can include contact with infectious blood, bodily fluids, or bacteria.
With the increased risks in the healthcare system today, how does the industry protect its workers? Here are some of the efforts the industry is taking:
- Providing Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment or PPE is a type of safety equipment designed to protect healthcare workers in the workplace. Healthcare workers who don’t wear such are a risk to themselves and others, which may even cause deaths.
There are also PPEs which help protect healthcare workers from acquiring diseases from virus and bacteria. A face mask is another standard device that helps prevent infection and exposure to harmful materials. A healthcare worker may wear face masks while processing urine or blood, helping reduce the risk of disease. A biological respirator, or a full-face respirator, can help protect a healthcare worker from chemical splashes. You can learn more about different facemasks by reading the articles found here.
The PPE for healthcare workers can also include a variety of protective materials and devices. Eye guards are worn to protect the eyes against glares and dust, as well as moisture and splashes. Prolonged exposure to substances that may be harmful can cause eye irritation, discomfort, or even damage to the cornea. Workers should also wear gloves to protect their hands. Gloves are necessary for handling hazardous substances and products and when treating patients.
- Providing Vaccines Or Immunization
Every year, medical professionals all over the country receive new recommendations about the types of vaccines to get for themselves. Some of these are for preventative purposes; others are used to help fight off dangerous diseases and illnesses.
Some of the most common vaccines recommended for workers include the flu, pneumococcal disease, and hepatitis B. Pneumococcal disease is incredibly contagious because it can cause a severe lung infection. During flu season, healthcare workers are also given a flu vaccine to avoid getting sick from taking care of patients who have the flu.
Currently, healthcare workers are the priority when it comes to giving vaccines for COVID-19. It’s essential that healthcare workers are vaccinated because when most of the workers in the healthcare industry gets infected, the whole healthcare system will collapse.
- Providing A Healthy Working Environment
A healthy environment for healthcare workers allows them to focus on patient care. It also enables them to work comfortably in a setting that is organized, functional, and conducive to good health. Achieving a positive working environment requires careful planning and implementation of policies.
Organizations must ensure that healthcare workers follow a realistic schedule wherein they get enough rest between their shifts. They should also be provided with training and tools to ensure that they have all they need when they’re working. Training is also critical because organizations should ensure that every employee knows how to keep a safe working environment for everyone, including the patients.
- Providing Health Coverage
Organizations provide universal health coverage to healthcare workers to ensure the latter has financial protection for when getting sick due to the job. Workers are also provided access to different services needed to achieve good health. Services like health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation, are accessible to every healthcare worker to ensure they’re in good health.
There are many risks and hazards involved when it comes to working in the health care industry. This is why organizations and the government ensure that healthcare workers are protected. Organizations ensure healthcare workers’ health by providing personal protective equipment like face masks and goggles. They also prioritize vaccination for those who care for people with infectious diseases. Lastly, organizations work to provide a healthy working environment while ensuring each worker has access to health coverage and health programs.