Occupational Risks Amongst Pharmacists
When you go to get your prescription filled at the drug store, you probably don’t think about the occupational risks pharmacists face in their occupation. The pharmacist has to be aware of these risks in order to perform well, and stay safe and healthy.
Being Aware of the Hazards
There are many occupational risks among pharmacists. This is because the field of pharmacy extends beyond the person behind the counter at the drug store. There are pharmacists working in many different capacities other than the neighborhood pharmacy. They may be employed in community centers, retail stores, hospitals, and medical centers.
Biological hazards top the list of occupational risks of which pharmacists must be aware. Working with the public always exposes a person to a plethora of germs. However, like others in the healthcare field, pharmacists are even more vulnerable to biological infections because they are often filling prescriptions for those who are sick with some type of virus or bacterial infection, as well as those who are getting medication for ongoing health conditions.
In addition to biological hazards, there are the chemical hazards that also pose a risk. Pharmacists are constantly working with different drugs, and occasionally they may need to make a certain drug for a patient that may not be available commercially. The pharmacist must take care when being exposed to harmful chemicals and ensure that he or she is limiting their exposure. Spills and mishaps need to be avoided and proper safety gear should be worn.
Physical Occupational Risks
Pharmacists are on their feet for hours at a time. They also spend a great deal of time working on the computer. Ergonomic considerations need to be addressed for the health and safety of workers. Proper seating options and easy access to shelves need to be in place. Computer screens need to be adjusted for the best height for viewing to lessen the stress on neck, back, and shoulder muscles.
The floors of the pharmacy area should be non-slip to prevent falls and walkways should always be kept clear to prevent people from tripping over items.
Other physical hazards include working with sharp objects, which could cause cuts. When necessary, precautions are taken while using sharp instruments and the instruments are returned to their proper locations, injuries can be avoided.
Pharmacists who work with heat sealers need to be careful in operating them. These machines can cause burns. Education on the proper use of the heat sealer will prevent serious injury.
Psychological Risks of Pharmacists
One occupational risk pharmacists sometimes face is the belligerent client. Education in conflict management and learning how to de-escalate volatile situations can be helpful in these circumstances. Working long hours and under a heavy workload can also add to the psychological burdens of pharmacists.