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Hospitals have higher incidence rates than construction, manufacturing

Job hazards include lifting, falls, workplace violence

Posted June 20, 2017

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Monthly Labor Review blog, private industry hospital workers suffer a higher incidence rate for workplace injuries and illnesses than workers in other industries. This is true even when compared to the incidence rates of industries that are traditionally considered dangerous, such as construction and manufacturing.

Job hazards that contribute to the high incidence rates for hospital employees — 6.0 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers — include lifting, moving, or otherwise physically interacting with patients; slips, trips, and falls; violence and other injuries by persons or animals; contact with objects or equipment; exposure to harmful substances or environments; and transportation hazards.

The blog examines the various circumstances and characteristics of injuries and illnesses among hospital workers across hospitals of different service and ownership types. The blog asserts that researching hospital injury and illness rates is challenging because current government surveys do not provide aggregate measures across the three hospital ownership types: private hospitals; state government hospitals; and local government hospitals. Further complicating the statistics, the services offered by the different types of hospitals may be intermixed, meaning psychiatric services might be included as a subunit in a general medical and surgical hospital. In these cases, injury and illness statistics would not be differentiated from the entire hospital.

Finally, injury and illness rates for workers under contract, such as visiting doctors or emergency medical technicians, are not always included in the hospital incident reports. These kinds of workers generally report to their employers rather than the hospital where the injury occurred.

Access the blog, including tables and charts that break down the types of injuries and illnesses; body parts affected; types of hospitals; distribution of workplace injuries and illnesses that involve days away from work; and source of injuries, on the BLS website.

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