Occupational hazards to health care workers: diverse, ill-defined, and not fully appreciated

Am J Infect Control. 1990 Oct;18(5):316-27. doi: 10.1016/0196-6553(90)90231-g.


Health care workers are challenged by an imposing group of occupational hazards. These hazards include exposure to ionizing radiation, stress, injury, infectious agents, and chemicals. The magnitude and diversity of these hazards are not fully appreciated. The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome epidemic has created additional occupational hazards and has focused attention on the problem of occupational hazards to health care workers. Concern over the nosocomial transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus has contributed to efforts to implement universal infection control precautions and to decrease needlestick injuries. Health care organizations and providers, who have prompted health and safety campaigns for the general public, should not overlook the dangers associated with the health care setting.

MeSH terms

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Cross Infection / transmission
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Hazardous Substances / adverse effects
  • Health Workforce*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control
  • Radiation, Ionizing
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Physiological
  • United States
  • Violence
  • Wounds and Injuries


  • Hazardous Substances