Certified nurse assistants play a vital role in patient care. Unfortunately, however, their work can also pose risks of serious injuries.
If you work as a CNA, awareness of these hazards allows you to prioritize your health and well-being by avoiding workplace injury.
Back and spine injuries
CNAs routinely lift and transfer patients, which poses a significant risk for back and spine injuries. Lifting substantial weight without proper body mechanics or assistance can strain the spinal cord.
This type of action can lead to serious and persistent injuries. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that nursing assistant injuries most commonly affect the back, with 9,230 incidents in 2020 alone.
CNAs are also susceptible to soft tissue stretches and tears caused by repetitive movements. You may place stress on your joints and muscles at work when you assist patients with mobility, feed them or perform other daily tasks.
Infectious disease exposure
Working closely with patients exposes CNAs to various infectious diseases. Follow proper infection control measures, especially when caring for people who have contagious conditions.
Handling sharp objects as part of patient care exposes CNAs to the risk of needlestick injuries. This type of wound can transmit infectious diseases. Your employer should emphasize the importance of proper handling and disposal procedures.
Slips, trips and falls
CNAs must navigate the diverse environments of healthcare facilities. You may encounter wet floors, cluttered areas and uneven surfaces. Slipping and falling on the job can result in injuries ranging from sprains to fractures.
Violence and aggression
Dealing with patients who exhibit violent or aggressive behavior poses a risk to CNAs. Verbal and physical confrontations can lead to bruises, scratches or even more severe harm if not managed.
Emotional stress and burnout
CNAs must cope with demanding job responsibilities along with the emotional strain of caring for ill patients. These circumstances sometimes lead to mental health challenges and long-term consequences.
Exposure to hazardous substances
Handling cleaning agents, medications or other dangerous substances as part of patient care can result in exposure-related injuries. Proper training and adherence to safety protocols can minimize the risk of harm.
Understanding the risk of injury helps you stay safe on the job. Notify your employer right away if you get hurt at work.