Addressing workplace safety and health in the healthcare sector will ensure high-quality patient care

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) publishes a report
on current and emerging occupational safety and health (OSH) risks in the
healthcare sector. An important feature of the report is its focus on a
previously neglected area - home and community care.

Health- and social care is one of the main sectors in Europe, employing
approximately 10 % of the EU workforce, with women representing 77 % of
healthcare workers. It is a sector that is expanding rapidly, and will provide
increasing employment opportunities for the foreseeable future, as a result of
Europe's ageing population, the expansion and development of services to meet
the demand for better quality care and an increasing demand for personal care

Because of the many different, and sometimes uncontrolled, settings in which
they work and the range and type of tasks they carry out, healthcare workers
encounter a wide range of risks. These include biological and chemical risks
(such as infections from needlestick injuries and handling hazardous
substances), ergonomic risks arising from patient handling and psychosocial
risks resulting from working unsocial hours, emotionally draining work and
exposure to aggressive behaviour.

All this adds up to make health- and social care a high-risk sector. Although
technological advances have helped to reduce or remove some of the traditional
risks in the sector, the number of work-related accidents and diseases is still
unacceptably high. In addition, these technological advances bring with them
new hazards that need to be addressed.

This report gives an overview of the current and emerging OSH issues for
health- and social care workers and how these affect their safety and health at
work and influence the quality of care they provide. It highlights the
challenges facing the sector, including shortages of skilled and experienced
professionals, an ageing workforce, increased use of technology requiring new
skills and the introduction of new care pathways to tackle multiple chronic

More information - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work