It feels a bit “tabloid” to say this, but nurses are putting themselves at risk, just by going to work.
Our exclusive investigation ‘NHS nurses suffer more than 8,800 serious industrial injuries in three years’ shows that nearly 9,000 “serious” injuries to nursing staff occurred from 2008 to 2011. The top three causes were slips or trips, assault and manual handling.
It’s unsurprising that nurses are the group most likely to have accidents at work, and they constitute nearly 43% of the 20,547 incidents reported to the Health and Safety Executive between 2008 and 2011. As the biggest group of health professionals, it is a statistical probability that most accident reports will include a nurse’s name.
But these are no paper cuts, the incidents reported are those deemed serious enough to leave a person unable to work for over three days, and so should be the equivalent of “never events” in the staff handbook. Trusts should have adequate policies, security and training to ensure such incidences never threaten the safety of those in charge of the safety of others.
But these figures call into question whether trusts do enough to protect their staff. This is why we’re following up this investigation with the launch of Your Safety Matters, our campaign aiming to find out just how safe your places of work are so we can pressurise your employers to minimise your risk of injury.
You can let us know where you think your employer is failing you by emailing us at email@example.com, tweeting us (using the hashtag #yoursafety) or via our Nursing Times Facebook page. Or if you prefer to remain anonymous, visit our forums, where you can make suggestions for improvements.
Don’t let someone else take responsibility. The profession’s safety - and your own - is in your hands.