Caring for others is a noble occupation. You put the health and safety of your patients first every day. Whether you provide in-home care to elderly patients or you are a nurse in a hospital, you do amazing work. However, you must take care of yourself too.

Working in the health care industry can be dangerous and unsafe at times. You may encounter a lot of risks on the job. Here are some of the top health care hazards you should be aware of.

1. Patient handling

Your core responsibility as a nurse or health care aide is to ensure your patients are as healthy as possible. This means you may need to help them move around, especially patients who are elderly or have severe injuries. According to the CDC, lifting, transferring and repositioning your patients may in some cases result in serious sprains, strains and other musculoskeletal issues. Even just assisting your patients with daily activities may cause back and shoulder injuries.

2. Hazardous chemicals

Whether you work in a private home, elderly care facility or a hospital, you may find various chemical hazards. Some chemicals you may use include the following:

  • Bleach
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds
  • Phenolics
  • Anesthetic gases
  • Aerosolized medications
  • Antineoplastic drugs
  • Toluene
  • Xylene
  • Formaldehyde

Simply cleaning a work surface or treating your patients may result in allergic reactions and illnesses in some instances.

3. Sharp objects

You may handle a variety of sharp medical tools, including surgical instruments and needles. Even a minor distraction or mishandling may cause you to sustain an injury. Sharp instruments can result in anything from a simple cut to a life-threatening blood-borne infection.

Do not neglect your own health and safety while you care for others at your job. You should always be mindful of your own wellbeing. Your employer should implement safety measures to prevent you from suffering any injury while you work. If you experience an injury, you typically should think about filing for workers’ compensation.