1. Understand own responsibilities, and the responsibilities of others, relating to health & safety in the work setting;
1.1 My work setting is covered by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which is the overall act for other regulations. It has been updated by many sets of guidelines which support and explain it.
1.2 In the work place you share responsibility with your employer for your own safety and that of all the people you support.
a) My responsibilities in the work place are;
avoid wearing jewellery & tie long hair back
understand and apply relevant legislation to situations
undertake relevant training when provided, do not operate or carry anything out that I have not had training for ofollow the companies policy for health and safety
take care not to put others at risk by my actions
report any injuries, strains or illnesses I suffer as a result of doing my job otell my employer if something happens that could affect my ability to work
b) My employer’s responsibilities are to;
make sure the work place is safe
prevent risks to health
make sure that all materials are handled, stored and used safely oprovide adequate first aid facilities
tell you about any potential hazards from the work I do, chemicals and other substances used by the organisation and give me information, instructions, training and supervision as needed
make sure ventilation, temperature, lighting and toilet, washing and rest facilities all meet health, safety and welfare requirements ocheck that the right equipment is provided and properly maintained
take precautions against the risks caused by flammable or explosive hazards, electrical equipment, noise and radiation oprovide health supervision as needed
provide personal protective equipment (PPE)
C) Other people’s responsibility’s in the work place would be;
to if possible not bring a disease or illness into the work place oto not bring risk or harm to the residents or staff
to be aware of the health and safety policy(s)
1.3 When working in a residential setting you have to have a balance between the need for safety and the rights of people to live the way they wish, as after all it maybe our workplace but it is the person’s home. Both the staff and residents are entitled to expect a safe place in which to live and work. Residents have the right to see whoever they wish but situations may arise where there are concerns about vulnerable people being exploited or at risk of harm, you can advise people of the risks of opening doors to strangers but you cannot force the level of security they adopt even though the people they are inviting in could be a threat to you. People also need to assess the risks involved in doing the things they wish to do without placing themselves at harm or danger; for example one of the residents has vascular dementia and if she wanted to go out shopping alone this would be potentially very dangerous, they could become disorientated and forget their way home. Undertaking a risk assessment would help to look at the risks and control measures that can be put in place to reduce the risks of the activity i.e. the activities co-ordinator could arrange a shopping trip for a couple of residents to go shopping with a couple of support workers so they get to have a one to one but also do the activity they wished to do.
1.4 In the work place there are a range of tasks relating to health and safety that should not under any circumstances be carried out without special training. All manual handling must be carried out by people that have had the correct training to do it. Employers are required to provide training in manual handling which must be done once a year, it isn’t a one off training session- it is vital to keep up to date with the latest techniques, equipment and changes in regulations. Moving people without proper training is not only dangerous for the residents but for us staff too. Also administering medication requires support workers to undergo training to show you are competent and confident as residents are trusting you to give them the correct medication and correct dosage of that medication. Other training we undertake includes; first aid, food hygiene and COSHH training.
1.5 Sometimes we might need more advice or information on aspects of health and safety like what legislation and guidelines are involved, maybe the safety of an individual isn’t satisfactory or you are unhappy about the risks of an object causing hazards to staff and residents. The first person I would go to if I had a query would be my manager but if they were unavailable I would check the works policies and procedures and if after doing that I was still unsure I could seek information from trade unions or the Health & Safety Executive.
2. Understand the use of risk- assessments in relation to health and safety:
2.1 Risk assessment in health and social care is important for everyone whether they are employers or employees, who are required by law to identify and assess risks in the workplace including circumstances where potential harm may be caused. The 5 questions listed below are the key stages to successfully undergo a risk assessment:
The Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 say that employers must assess any risks that could be associated in the work place. Having carried out a risk assessment the employer must then apply risk control measures i.e. that actions need to be identified to reduce the risks.
2.2In health and social care it is important that within my role as a support worker I am constantly aware of health and safety risks and potential risks in everyday situations, creating a mental checklist helps me to do this.
A few examples are listed below;
– if I carry out the daily cleaning tasks I need to check that every substance is clearly labelled and stored safely – if people visit the home I need to make a judgement about if they are regular visitors (family, friends, staff, health professionals) or if they are an intruder who could bring danger into the home
– if someone has recently mopped a floor I need to check the ‘wet floor’ sign is visible to people in the building and that people using that specific room are aware, even if I haven’t personally mopped that floor myself
– and when I go up and down the corridors I need to check that pathways are clear of obstacles that could cause hazards I have a responsibility to report any unsafe situation to my manager however some situations have to be reported officially where special procedures must be followed. This is where the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences (RIDDOR) Regulations 1995 comes into place. Reporting accidents and ill-health at work is a legal requirement. We as a health and social care work place have to report deaths, major injuries, diseases, dangerous occurrences and any accidents resulting in more than three days off work.
Courtney from Study Moose
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