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The importance of being alert and other hospital safety considerations

By Lauren Smith








“Eye protection when removing a trach tube.”

Without missing a beat, that was my husband’s immediate response when I asked what workplace safety meant to him.

He works as a respiratory therapist, so removing and replacing tracheal tubes is part of his job description. As a student, he quickly learned why it’s important to protect his eyes when taking out a trach tube: bodily fluids.

The needle and the (potential) damage done

As a work environment, I’d always known a hospital would present many different risks in comparison to my office environment, but I had never given much thought as to what they were.

Being naturally curious and safety-minded, I thought it would be enlightening to discuss work safety for his job. (Riveting dinner conversation, right?)

In addition to eye protection, he mentioned: “Don’t get stabbed by needles.”

My partner told me about one of his co-workers who was accidentally poked by a contaminated needle and had to go in for testing to ensure he didn’t contract anything. (Thankfully, he was fine).

I don’t have a fear of needles, but that terrified me.

Best line of defense

It’s important for all hospital workers to be fully alert in order to help their patients. But being drowsy on the job not only poses a major threat to their patient’s health and safety, but also to their own.

I’ve heard from other friends who work in hospitals that there are some tasks they aren’t allowed to do if they’re feeling a little under the weather, and working around needles is one of them.

The reason is pretty clear: “You just never know what they could’ve come into contact with.”

Eye opening (no protection required)

Although I expected the hospital to present different risks in comparison to my office work environment, what surprised me the most was that some of their safety risks are not unlike the ones at my job.

In my office, there are many electronic devices, so ensuring their cords are taped down or tucked out of the way is important to reduce the risk of tripping. Hospitals are no different. Recently, one of my husband’s co-workers tripped over a cord, which caused her to fall and break her arm. Ouch! At least she was already in a hospital …


Does your work environment present any unique safety risks?
Tell us @HeadsUpAB!

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