Occupational Risks for the Medical Assistant Program

Medical Assisting is a profession with many rewards, as practitioners can perform administrative, clinical and laboratory services, filling several roles in a variety of healthcare environments.  Medical Assistants work directly with providers and patients, with the goal of providing healthcare and ensuring patient safety. It is a position with a great deal of responsibility.

Students planning on entering the Medical Assistant program are advised that they may be exposed to certain occupational risks. Tasks and procedures performed by the health care professional involve risks classified by the Center for Disease Control in the following way:

  • Category I – Direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids to which universal precautions apply.
  • Category II – Activities performed without blood exposure but exposure may occur in emergencies.
  • Category III – Task/activity does not entail predictable or unpredictable exposure to blood.

In reviewing the above categories, here are the more common risks that you may encounter when working as a Medical Assistant. 

  • Exposure to infectious diseases
  • Sharps injuries
  • Bloodborne pathogens and biological hazards
  • Chemical and drug exposure
  • Ergonomic hazards from lifting, sitting, and repetitive tasks
  • Latex allergies
  • Stress


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