Common nursing home safety and health hazards include musculoskeletal disorders, workplace violence, slips and falls, tuberculosis, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Additionally, bloodborne pathogens and exposure to hazardous chemicals such as formaldehyde and ethylene oxide increase the risk. The people who are most vulnerable to these hazards include health care workers such as orderlies and nursing aides, maintenance and housekeeping workers, and administrative staff.
As of 2010, nursing homes pose a higher than average risk to injury and disease for workers than most other industries, reporting a rate of injury that is almost thrice that of other industries despite the many safeguards in place to prevent injuries, reports OSHA. For instance, the high frequency of falls may be due to the frailty of the old adults at the home, poor lighting, wet floors, poor foot care and muscle weakness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since every worker has a right to a safe work environment, the onus rests on his employer to ensure this and to comply with all safety guidelines set out, adds OSHA. If an employer does not, then a worker is free to report an injury, raise a health concern or file a complaint with the authorities.