The 6 Most Common Injuries for Nurses: Hazards in Hospitals and Nursing Facilities

Nurse in Hospital

Nurses are vital caretakers in our communities. We frequently meet nurses who are undergoing medical treatment because they were injured on the job, and they discover that the system does not take care of them. Nurses are exposed to a large number of hazards throughout the workday, and these quickly add up. While working a normal shift, nurses are more likely than most professionals to suffer painful injuries that require time away from work, leading to lost wages. In some cases, nurses must rely on workers’ compensation. 

Why Nurses Experience Many Injuries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurses suffer a significantly higher number of injuries than the average occupation. In 2016, the BLS found nurses received injuries that required at least one day away from work at a rate of 104.2 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, while the rest of the workforce was injured at a rate of 91.7 cases per 10,000 workers. On any given day, nurses are 9% more likely to be injured than the average worker.

Nurses are injured more frequently because hospitals and nursing facilities are filled with hazards. These facilities have:

  • patients with limited mobility who need help moving, which can lead to back injuries for the nurses
  • patients with potentially contagious diseases 
  • patients who are prone to violent outbursts and could attack the nurses
  • sharp devices, including used needles, contaminated with bloodborne pathogens
  • safety challenges that come with other occupations, including:
    • Food Service
    • Materials Handling
    • Maintenance and Cleaning
    • Office Work

When all of these hazards are combined into a single workplace, nurses become more susceptible to injury than the average worker.

Nurse Helping Someone in Hallway

Common Injuries in Nursing

In reviewing its 2016 data, the BLS found that the six most common injuries for nurses were:

  • Overexertion and bodily reaction - 45.6% of all injuries (Other occupations experienced overexertion and bodily reaction as the cause of 33.7% of cases)
  • Slips, trips, and falls - 25.0% (25.7% for other occupations)
  • Violence and injuries by other people - 12.2% (4.2% for other industries)
  • Contact with equipment - 9.8% (26.1% for other industries)
  • Transportation incidents - 3.8% (5.2% for other industries)
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals - 3.3% (4.3% for other industries)

Most noteworthy: Although nurses are at a lower risk for contact with equipment, transportation incidents, and exposure to harmful chemicals, they are at a much higher risk of injury as a result of overexertion and violence in the workplace.

Overexertion and Bodily Reaction

Regardless of whether they work in a hospital or a nursing facility, nurses assist numerous people throughout the day who are bedridden, have limited mobility, or who have fallen onto the floor. Improper lifting or exertion while assisting these individuals can lead to significant back or musculoskeletal injuries, which sometimes require time off work to recover.


Sadly, nurses are three times as likely to suffer injuries as a result of violence in the workplace when compared to workers in other professions. Nurses frequently attend to patients who are confused, angry, or disturbed, and these factors can quickly turn violent in a hospital setting. 

Additional Support for Nurses

Injury prevention is key to protecting the people who care for us when we are hurt or ill. Because nurses make so many sacrifices for the people around them, they are especially deserving of medical, financial, and legal protections when they receive an injury on the job.

If you are a nurse who has been injured at work, contact us. Our team fights for the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on becoming healthy again.

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