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Safety tips all nurses need to know

As a practicing nurse, you probably already know that there are plenty of hazards lurking in the workplace. You may even have colleagues who have suffered injuries while working alongside you in a San Diego hospital. While many people think that working in health care is a safe job, it actually has one of the highest rates of workplace accidents.

Before your next shift, take the time to brush up on some safety tips so that you can avoid an on-the-job injury. Here are a few safety procedures that all nurses should follow.

Avoiding needlesticks

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that hospitals and medical offices adhere to the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act. This federal law stipulates that hospitals must use safe needles to reduce the risk of nurses sticking themselves during a procedure.

If the medical facility where you work does not use safe needles, then you may want to speak to someone who oversees safety issues at your job. Also, be especially careful when you are drawing blood or using a needle at the end of your shift or when you are working a double. When you are tired, rushed or stressed, the chances of a needlestick drastically increase.

Take care of your back

Most injuries that nurses suffer from involve the head, neck or back. Usually these types of injuries happen because of lifting patients. While federal guidelines recommend that workers limit lifting to loads of no more than 50 pounds, nurses usually have to lift much more since most patients weigh over the suggested limit.

When you can, try pushing instead of pulling to reduce the stress on your back. Also, pushing will give you almost twice as much power. In addition, stay as close to the bed or machine as possible so that you do not have to reach too far. And, as with any lifting, be sure to use your legs instead of your back.

Violence in the workplace

According to studies done by OSHA, nurses are very susceptible to workplace violence when the hospital is understaffed and during high levels of activity such as visiting hours. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to avoid working alone or in areas that are prone to violence and crime.

However, there are some things you can do to reduce your chances of becoming a victim. For example, become familiar with your patients and make note of ones who have a history of violence or aggression. Also, if you have a patient who displays such behavior, try to have an escort or other staff member close by in case you need help.

If you have suffered a workplace injury, keep in mind that you have options. You might be able to file a claim for workers' compensation so that you can receive the benefits you deserve.

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