When you earn your living working as a nurse, a nurse’s aide, a hospital porter, a home health care worker or something similar, you face a high risk of suffering musculoskeletal injuries.

Much of the risk comes from regularly moving or shifting heavy patients, and these risks are growing more substantial as Americans are growing older and more of them are requiring mobility assistance. The fact that Americans are become increasingly obese also elevates your risk of a lifting-related injury as a health care worker.

Per the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, certain actions you may take in your work environment elevate your risk of a serious back or musculoskeletal injury.

Common causes of musculoskeletal injuries

Any work-related task that involves heavy lifting has the potential to lead to serious injury. Moving patients from the toilet to the chair may increase your risk. So, too, might moving a patient from the chair to the bed or transporting a patient to or from the bathtub.

Consequences associated with musculoskeletal injuries

When you suffer a work-related musculoskeletal injury, it may lead to pain and fatigue, which in turn may impact productivity and increase absenteeism. In more serious cases, your injury may lead to chronic pain and long-term disabilities.

Suffering a serious lifting-related injury may also impact your desire to remain in the health care field. Research shows that one-fifth of today’s nurses who leave their health care positions say they do so because of the risks involved in the job.