Healthcare workers' health: old, new and emerging occupational hazards

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

There is a general feeling in hospitals that a healthcare worker is "immune" to occupational risks in their work. In fact, healthcare workers are trained to deal with some severe diseases and the treatment and relief of suffering of patients are their top priority. Nevertheless, that kind of feeling is different among professional groups: usually, nurses are more worried about their health and safety than doctors and it is understandable that different perception of occupational risks can influence the adoption of safety practices and protection measures. Regardless of their perception, during their activities, healthcare workers can be exposed to many different occupational hazards. They include physical, chemical, biological and psychological ones. Sometimes, some of them can potentiate the others, growing the risk of negative health effects. A good example for that is the exposure to psychological stressors that can affect immunity, influencing the risk of suffering from an infection related with the exposure to some biological hazards, in a complex way (Sacadura-Leite & Sousa-Uva, 2010; 2011). The main risks for healthcare workers in hospitals are being undertaken, sharing our own experience in an Occupational Health Department of central and university hospital.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSHO2015: INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HYGIENE
EditorsP Arezes, JS Baptista, MP Barroso, P Carneiro, P Cordeiro, N Costa, R Melo, AS Miguel, G Perestrelo
PublisherPORTUGUESE SOC OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY & HYGIENE
Pages315-319
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventInternational Symposium on Occupational Safety and Hygiene (SHO) - Guimaraes, Portugal
Duration: 12 Feb 201513 Feb 2015

Conference

ConferenceInternational Symposium on Occupational Safety and Hygiene (SHO)
CountryPortugal
CityGuimaraes
Period12/02/1513/02/15

Keywords

  • hospitals
  • occupational hazards
  • occupational risks
  • healthcare workers

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