Healthy work environments are empowering for employees and create a safety culture that is important to maintain and improve performance. This is particularly true for medical professionals because they are exposed to many safety and health concerns. However, Minnesota hospitals and nurses could follow a few tips to remain safe on the job.

One of the biggest health concerns for nurses is sharp objects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that sharps are involved in 385,000 injuries to hospital workers every year. Needles and other sharps expose workers to blood-borne germs, and the law makes it mandatory for medical groups to use safety caps for needles and workers to wear eye protection, gowns, gloves and masks to prevent punctures.

Another health issue that some medical professionals deal with is an allergy to latex. They have to wear gloves to prevent contact with allergy-causing and toxic substances, but the powder in latex gloves may create a rash on their hands. Some rash incidents become so bad that health care workers suffer anaphylactic shock. To avoid this, they could request that their employers provide powder-free gloves. If they still have to use powdered gloves, they should wash and dry their hands afterward, avoid moisturizing with oil-based lotion and wear synthetic gloves or cotton liners with the latex gloves.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has noted that nurses are very vulnerable to violence in the workplace, especially during times of low staff and high activity, including visiting hours and meal time. To prevent incidents, medical facilities could install security systems to control facility access. Workers should also be vigilant around patients with a history of dementia, alcohol or drug abuse, and violent behavior.

Health care workers who are injured on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Many such workers find that the assistance of an attorney can be helpful when the required claim is being prepared.