Nurses throughout California are exposed to numerous health risks, but if they know about the following 10 tips, they can avoid both injuries and illnesses. It all starts with how they are outside of their job. If they are not fit, eating well and sleeping sufficiently, their job performance will worsen. For this reason, the first two tips are to practice good self-care and achieve adequate sleep.

Third, nurses should know that the No. 1 way to prevent the spread of illness is to wash their hands. Next, they will want to wear the right personal protective equipment, such as gloves, gowns, a mask and eye protection.

Fifth, nurses should make sure they have been vaccinated for the flu, a disease that is all too easily transmitted through coughing and sneezing. Other conditions they should be vaccinated for include hepatitis B, tetanus and diphtheria. The seventh tip is to safely handle all needles since needlestick- and sharps-related injuries are common in this field.

To prevent ergonomic injuries, nurses should use lift and transfer equipment rather than lift a patient with their own strength. Good body mechanics are important; nurses should avoid hunching over, for instance, and change muscle movements. Lastly, it’s good for nurses to step up when another needs assistance, such as with lifting or with an unruly patient.

Under workers’ compensation law, nurses who are injured on the job can receive benefits that cover, among other things, their medical expenses and a portion of the wages they lost. If an injury or disease has left them permanently unable to work, at least at the same capacity as before, then they could be reimbursed for this as well. Filing a workers’ comp claim can be hard, though, so victims may do well to request legal counsel.