P1 – Explain potential hazards and the harm that may arise from each in a health or social care setting Relating to the physical environment
The physical environment is everything that is around you, this includes; 1. The building
2. The air
3. The temperature
The physical environment has a huge impact on the staffs and individuals well-being. The spread of Airborne infections are increased when the ventilation is poor, airborne infections such as colds and influenza, so it is important to have fresh air circulating at all times in a health and social care setting, especially in elderly homes as older people tend to catch things more easily as do younger children. Individuals should never be in a draught and should always be warm enough. Older people, babies and people with disabilities find it harder to keep their body at an adequate temperature; you should always cater to their needs.
Fumes and smoke shouldn’t contaminate the air that should be clean. The ventilation should remove stale air and provide air movement. All the rooms in the environment should have central heating; each should be able to be controlled to the specific temperature the individual wants.
The lighting in each room should be bright enough and in a position for the individuals in the environment to read and participate in other activities. Emergency lighting should also be in place in case a light breaks or electrical problems occur; it should come on if there is a power failure. When the lighting is poor is can cause numerous problems and is hazardous to those who are in that setting, it will affect those with a vision impairment, with people that have limited vision you should make sure that they are in a well-lit area.
Hazards from equipment could include
* Untidiness e.g. toys, equipment left in corridors on stairs or blocking fire exits. * Poor maintenance, e.g. frayed wiring or broken equipment * Unsafe practice, e.g. overload sockets or trailing flexes * Lack of awareness of hazards, e.g. hot surfaces or moving parts All equipment must work and function correctly; it must be full maintained at all times. This could include fire fighting equipment, hoists and medical diagnostic equipment such as ECG or x-ray machines, it is very important that these are checked on a regular basis for any faults because the individual could be wrongly diagnosed. Computers and laptops now play as an important role in the care industry as they do in any other aspect of work. If they are positioned in an awkward place the individual can suffer from strain injuries, they can strain their vision if they have too much exposure to the screen, and incorrect sitting can lead to neck strain and back pains. Anything they need should be in reach or this can cause them to overstretch and this could cause a fall.
You should always follow policies and procedures that are put in place; they are they to keep you and others around you safe. If you do not follow them you could cause unnecessary harm to you, your colleagues or individuals in your work place. Babies and older people are at a much greater risk of complications if they catch food borne infections, the incidence of MRSA in hospitals has highlighted the potentially devastating outcomes and effects of poor personal hygiene practices and over-prescription of antibiotics. On the national statistics website it shows that the number of deaths linked to MRSA in the UK from 1993 to 2006 rose to 1,625. But on the death certificates that mentioned it declined, and then in 2008 there was a fall of 23%. If the bacteria are on the skin then they can spread by touch, if it is in the nose or lungs then it can be passed on by droplet spread, by breathing or coughing over someone. But if the person is healthy then when they leave hospital it can just disappear, this applies for people living with them; if they are healthy special precautions don’t need to be out in
place. If it gets into the bloodstream through a wound then it can cause serious illness such as
1. Bone marrow infection
2. Blood poisoning
3. Septic shock
4. Septic arthritis
6. Abscesses anywhere within the body
7. Infection of the heart lining
The hazardous waste does not stop after disposing of it as if his disposal of hazardous waste is not correct it could damage the health of all in the environment if not disposed of at all it can lead to infection and a spread of infection also. So when dealing with waste especially hazardous you has to make sure you depose of it correctly.
Type of waste | Risk| How to dispose of the waste |
Sharps (needles or syringes) | Risk of getting an infection off a dirty needle | All dirty needles must be out in a yellow box it can be small or large, it must be shut once it’s at its limit and it will not open once it has been closed. | Clinical dressings | Infection can occur | Must be placed in a yellow box which must be sealed with arrangements of the collection.| Body fluid (blood, urine, faeces, vomit. | A risk of infection | When cleaning up any of the waste you have to ensure gloves are worn it must be flushed down the toilet and then the toilet must be disinfected and if it was on the floor, disinfect where the waste was.| Soiled linen| Another risk of infection | They must be out in the special laundry bags which disintegrate when being washed.|
There are a number of substances used in health and social care settings that are hazardous if misused. Cleaning fluids, medications and x-rays are all
examples of substances found in health and social care settings. Chemicals can cause burns to the throat and oesophagus if swallowed by accident. Care should be taken at all times when administrating medication as it could be given to the wrong person which could lead to them suffering, or something as simple as the wrong dose. This type of mistake can have a devastating result for example in 2005 2 nurses miscalculated the dose of a drug needed to slow down a baby boys heart rate. He was given 10x the dose and he died.
Hazardous working conditions
Working conditions are aspects of your job, the hours that you work, the staffing levels and the staff relations. Even though we have tried to improve in the quality of health and social care as a result of regular inspections there are still with staff turnover and staff shortages this can lead to the staff rushing what they are doing with results in them ignoring the policies and procedures, this can lead to a risk of injury or accidents.
Pay rates are low for early years workers and health and social care assistants, they are often only paid the minimum wage this can make people feel undervalued and make them less likely to follow policies and procedures.
When there are staff shortages it can cause staff to be expected to do overtime, being a care worker or being in care work is physically and mentally demanding and too much of it is likely to cause staff to not perform to the best of their abilities, the more tired the staff are the more likely they are to make mistakes like miscalculating medication does, they will be less alert which could lead to them missing a sign that someone is ill. Stress is another reason of staff shortages, stress can be shown in many different ways people suffer from anxiety, sleep problems, digestive disorders, high blood pressure, and mood swings. None of these are good for a member of staff to be suffering with, it can lead to all sorts of problems in the health and social care setting. The vacancy rates for health and social care are higher than any other employment sectors in England, many care homes cannot recruit sufficient staff, and the shortages of staff have
an impact of the quality of care given to those in the environment.
Hazardous working practices
The jobs you do when caring for people are called working practices. They include: 1. Moving and handling
2. Preparing food
3. Changing nappies
4. Giving injections/supervising
5. Giving injections
6. Supervising individuals with challenging behaviour
You should always follow the procedures correctly because if you do not you can out yourself and others at harm. Care workers still suffer injuries related to moving people they care for even despite the manual handling regulations 1992. It was reported in 2003 that 80,000 nurses sustain back injuries at work each year, one third of all reported accidents involve moving and handling. The main hazards with moving and handling are that the handler may slip or trip over, stand in an awkward position, twist and overstretch, this can cause the handler to have neck or back pain, it can cause strain, and sprain or they could fracture a bone this could happen to either the handler or individual. They could end up with a permanent disability.
Hazardous security systems
Security systems are to keep staff and individuals safe from intruders, security systems are fitted in most health and social care settings. Residential homes normally keep the main door locked and only the people there have special keys and there family, or you have to buzz to get in. although this is a good thing, it could also be a bad thing as in fires it could waste time that could possibly save lives. All confidential information about the residents is withheld on the computer system and should be password protected all the filing cabinets should also be kept locked at all times.
There are different types of residential care homes, those for the older generation, people with disabilities and children who are looked after. In each of these settings health and safety has to taken extremely seriously, the carers have to make sure that the residents can escape in a fire, they have to make sure they are not putting one another in danger and that infections do not spread. It is important that the residents are informed about keeping themselves and others safe. In some of the residential homes the residents can come and go as they please but in a place where there may be little children or people that are confused that would not be allowed. They could put themselves in danger of getting ran over or hurt themselves. In winter time or in the colder weather, if they cannot find their way back or they don’t want to go back they could develop hypothermia.
Settings where there are children should be very safe. Little children are curious and want to see and touch everything, they put things into their mouths lie toys or objects, this can cause them to choke or if they swallow a liquid such as a cleaning detergent they could be poisoned. They could open a gate and go wandering, cupboards, drawers could be opened which have poisonous substances in them, and they could climb and get stuck or distressed. When working in a preschool setting you have to be constantly vigilant and always alert and on the lookout for anything dangerous. Staffs is responsible for all activities the children take part in and therefore have to ensure that they are safe and not hazardous.
Most parks are away from busy roads but there are a few which aren’t, in his case there is a danger of the child opening the gate and running out into
the road, you have to watch your child at all times to ensure the safety of him/her. You also have to be vigilant of those in the park also, as there could be bigger children which could run into the child. Also if there is a skate park where the older children and teenagers chill you have to be careful for any empty glass bottles, also if older people are unsteady on their feet this can create a hazard for them. Sometimes people like to vandalize the park equipment and leave it in a dangerous state if you are looking after a child you should always check the park equipment before allowing your child on, this can easily stop an accident which may have happened. You may also have to asses if the child is age appropriate, if not you shouldn’t let the child on it in case of an injury, parks do have an impact absorbing floor normally which cushions the child’s fall, but accidents can still happen and you should always keep a close eye on your child. Some parks are frequented by drug abusers; they may leave needles on the ground which would be extremely harmful to young children, so it would be a good idea to scan the ground. Dog owners tend to walk their dogs in the parks, dog faeces is a threat to children. There is such thing as toxicara which is a roundworm that can be present in dog faeces; this can potentially result in total blindness in one or both eyes. Parks are an idea place to take children to allow them to get some exercise and socialise with other children.
* Those receiving care, link to an older person and a young child:
Young children are unable to recognize hazards themselves, their coordination is still developing. If substances are left lying around the child could get hold of them, this could lead to devastating consequences or even fatal, the child could be poisoned. You should always put locks on drawers and cupboards to ensure the children cannot get hold of hazardous substances. If things are left lying around such as toys a child could get hold of it and put it into their mouths if it too small or a toy is broken the child could choke. An older person could walk into things if they have limited vision or the lights are not bright enough. You should always make sure that
the care setting is suitable and fits the residents needs. The main doors should always be locked in case there are residents who are confused, they may try to leave. An older person can be harmed if they need to be lifted into a bath or onto a bed, care should be taken when handling individuals and procedures should always be followed correctly.
Workers in a setting:
Workers sometimes come across Violent service users, this can put them at harm and they can be hurt. They could potentially fracture a bone. There may be faulty equipment which could be hazardous to the service provider as if they are lifting a service user and the equipment is broken the whole weight could be out on them and themselves and the individual could hurt themselves. If there is a shortage of staff and it is very busy the workers could feel stressed, stress can cause them to have anxiety and lack of sleep. If a member staff has had lack of sleep this will cause them to feel tired and they may not be als alert as they should be which can cause harm to themselves and the individual. If there are staff shortages tsome members of staff will be asked to work overtime, this can cause them to feel tired which again means that are not as vigilant as they would be.
Support staff (eg caterers, cleaners, administrative),
Cleaners are at a risk of being harmed by hazardous waste, if someone has soiled there bed sheets the cleaners have to take the sheets off the bed and put it into the wash, they come into contact with it which means germs can be passed. They also have to clean after someone has been sick again they can catch a bug or become unwell. Cleaners have to dispose of used dressing and needles they could catch an infection if they come into with them.
* Visitors (eg relatives, friends, volunteers)
Visitors need to be signed in and out in case of fires, if there was a fire and they are not signed in no one would know that they are there and they could at risk of being trapped in the building. Visitors are also at risk of catching infections or any bugs that are going around within the care setting. They should be informed of any infections before they visit. *
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