Occupational Health and Safety – Term Paper Example

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The paper "Occupational Health and Safety" is a perfect example of a term paper on health sciences and medicine. Occupational health and safety is a field that is mainly concerned with the health, safety, and welfare of the task force. It seeks to foster a safe working environment for all workers and may extend to protect the employers, family members, customers, co-workers, and other members of the public who are likely to be affected by the workplace environment. This report provides an analysis of the occupational health and safety issues in the hospital setting. A hospital setting and its activities The hospital can be described as a complex structure with a variety of activities and high-level technological applications.

It also characterized by an intricate work organization, which presents fair integration. Some of the activities that take place in hospital care setting include diagnostic services, processing services, operating theatres, record activity, physical laboratories, ambulatories, typography, clerical work, chemical laboratories, biological laboratories, carpentry, mortuary and autopsy rooms, machine shop, pharmacy, clinical wards, sewage and waste management, and electrotechnical shop among others (Jeanne, 1998). It is therefore evident that a variety of activities is performed in health care settings, and thus workers in such settings are exposed to numerous types of hazards. Hazards and risk factors in a hospital setting A hazard can be described as the intrinsic ability or property of a specific factor to potentially result in harm, while the risk is described as the probability of achieving the potential harm due to exposure to a hazardous factor.

Therefore, occupational risk can be defined as any chemical, biological or physical agent available in the workplace, and able to injure the worker.

Some of the hazards hospital workers are exposed to include; Biological hazards These are hazards that are caused by communicable agents such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites that can be obtained through contact with infected objects like scalpels, syringes or through close contact with infected patients. Communicable diseases such as cytomegalovirus, Hepatitis B and Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome are transmitted through direct contact with infected body fluids and blood on chapped, inflamed or broken skin. Other diseases such as Salmonella can be transmitted through contact with the fecal matter.

Chickenpox and pulmonary tuberculosis can be contracted through breathing airborne droplets whereas Herpes simplex virus is transmitted through contact with saliva. Chemical hazards Most of the chemicals used in the hospital contain both direct and indirect effects on the human body. In their daily routines, hospital cleaners are exposed to sterilizing and cleaning agents while those working at the mortuary settings are more affected. Laboratory cleaners, on the other hand, are exposed to reagents and tissue fixatives, whereas nurses are exposed to solvents, disinfectants and anti-cancer agents. Physicians are also exposed to disinfectants and anti-cancer agents while the operating room staff is exposed to anesthetic agents (Rita et al, 2008). Physical hazards Some of the physical hazards, workers in a hospital are exposed to include ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

The former refers to the type of radiation that is often applied in such diagnostic procedures as X-ray, fluoroscopy, and treatments that involve the use of radioactive implantations or injections, while the latter applies to radiation from lasers (Katie, 2008). The effects of being exposed to ionizing radiation include adverse effects on reproductive health and genetic damage, and the effect of exposure to non-ionizing radiation includes damage to the skin and eyes.

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