Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 10 May 2016

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health


When working in a health and social environment, it is important that the surrounding nature is safe and free of any potential harm. A hazard is something that can possibly cause you this danger. Hazards range from something being misplaced to a broken object. When identifying a hazard, risk assessments would take place to find out the best and quickest solution to prevent any danger. The definition of a risk is the probability or threat of damage, injury, liability, loss, or any other negative occurrence that is caused by external or internal vulnerabilities, and that may be avoided through preemptive action.

In this booklet I will be identifying and explain the potential hazards in a college environment and how they could affect people’s wellbeing.

Classroom Hazard – Windows & Loose Wires

There are a number of different potential hazards in a classroom environment. One example would be windows in the classroom. Even though most people wouldn’t consider this as a major issue however if on a higher level in a building and the window was not risk assessed – possible harm could be caused.

All windows in school facilities need to be safety checked to make sure an individual will not be able to climb out and potentially fall. These checks will consist of making sure the window has a limit distance of normally around 3 ½ inches [1]. This would be essential in an infant or nursery school as younger children tend to be attracted to what is going on outside and will not be aware of the possible risk they are causing to themselves.

Another example of a potential hazard in a classroom is loose cables and wires. This is a common hazard that teachers and pupils do not pay attention to as they do not believe a hazard is there. However a loose wire has the ability to cause numbers of harm to an individual; tangled up wires can potentially cause a fire. As well as this, people may trip over the wires and harm themselves alongside damaging the cables. To reduce the risk of this hazard occurring, wires should be covered once trailed or taped down.

Canteen Hazard – Fire Exits & Food Preparation

A canteen contains many existing hazards one of which is to do with food preparation. A hazard in regards to this would be if cross contamination between raw and cooked food (for example) occurs. This would cause food poisoning to anyone purchasing from the canteen furthermore spread diseases. To inhibit this from happening kitchen staff would prepare food on separate, colored chopping boards and make sure that hands are clean from any food to prevent spread.

Fire exits are vital in not just a working environment but in every type of building. Fire exits ensure a quick and easy escape in the event of a fire. If the exit is blocked or damaged in any way, this could seriously delay time and harm a person.

Toilet Hazard – Wet Floor & Taps

In regards to toilets, a wet floor could cause a person to serious injure themselves. A toilet requires to be kept clean at all times because it is a facility that is constantly at use. To prevent this, a cleaner would regularly make sure that the toilets are kept at a high standard.

A tap may not be commonly thought of as a hazard however if at the wrong temperature the, this could potentially harm and burn an individual. It is said that the temperature of washbasins should be around 41ºC for about 30 seconds [2]

Outdoor Hazard – Weather Conditions & Litter

An outdoor area can be a more hazardous place as a lot of things are happening at different speeds. Cars will be driving past nearby; people will be rushing to lessons or taking their time walking around. These situations become more dangerous as the weather changes – which in England, it does a lot.

During the winter, the temperature drops and everything starts to get cold additionally start to freeze. When this happens the ground needs to be covered in a layer of salt. If the ground is not covered then the whole collage would be a t risk of slipping over and hurting themselves.



Health and Safety Work Act 1974

The main features of the health and safety at work act is that it provides a framework for ensuring that all employees are in and a health and safety environment. The employer and staff have duty to ensure the health and safety not only of themselves but also other persons who may frequent the premises, such as children and their parents. Employees are due undertake an approved first aid course and a named person should be appointed to take charge in the event of an accident. As well as this, properly stocked first aid kit should be available – no medication should be kept in the first aid kit. In regards to a healthcare setting, this ensures that children and elderly are looked after as they may not be able to independently.

This legislation requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health such as toxic, corrosive or irritant chemicals like cleaning products or even bodily fluids. In a setting such as a Nursery, hazardous substances that are not stored properly and are easily accessible to children may cause consummation further poisoning or spilling on themselves. This hazard could be minimized by storing these substances in a high, possibly locked, area so that children are not likely to get a hold of them and harm themselves. Also, the incorrect disposal of soiled nappies etc, can cause germs to spread and could cause infection or cross contaminations within the Nursery. This can be avoided by having a specific bin solely for the disposal of soiled nappies to ensure that harm cannot result from this.

Food Safety (general food hygiene) Regulation 1995

The aim of this regulation is to prevent the spread of food poisoning by ensure that food are kept clean and in the correct standard. Also makes sure that personal hygiene is maintained and food is cooked thoroughly. Anyone who owns, manages or works in a food business – apart from those working in primary food production such as harvesting, slaughtering or milking – is affected by these Regulations. They apply to anything from a hot dog van to a five-star restaurant, from a village hall where food is prepared to a large supermarket, or to a vending machine.

The Regulations apply to all types of food and drink and their ingredients. But some businesses – generally manufacturers of products of animal origin, such as dairies or wholesale fish markets – follow their own product specific regulations. Some of the procedures include; [3] make sure food is supplied or sold in a hygienic way; identify food safety hazards; know which steps in your activities are critical for food safety; ensure safety controls are in place, maintained and reviewed.

Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations are aimed at helping employers and the self-employed to reduce the risk of these injuries and work related accidents occurring by effectively managing the movement of staff, equipment and objects. As far as reasonably practicable the employer must remove any need for their employees to undertake any form of manual handling where there is a risk of them being injured. The Manual Handling Operations Regulations require employees to make full and proper use of any system of work put in place by the employer to reduce the risk of injury during manual handling. This ensures that all people in a healthcare setting are being treated correctly and safely.

Reporting of Injuries, Disease Occurrences Regulations 1995

Reportable injuries (including deaths) do not have to be automatically reported, but must be reported if they occur as the result of a work-related accident. For the purposes of RIDDOR, an accident is a separate, identifiable, unintended incident that causes physical injury. This specifically includes acts of non-consensual violence to people at work. When deciding if the accident that led to the death or injury is work-related, the key issues to consider are whether the accident was related to: [4] the way in which the work was carried out; any machinery, plant, substances or equipment used for work; and the condition of the site or premises where the accident happened.

This is essential in a care setting as it is important to document any injuries that occur. This is because it may influence an individual’s health in the future.

Policies & Procedures

Policies ensure that everyone must work within the law and meet the minimum care standards set out by the legislation. Procedures on the other hand are the steps that are needed to be followed to ensure everyone’s safety within the workplace.

Safeguarding policy

The purpose of this policy is to guarantee that every child in the UK is ensured a safe, free from harm upbringing regardless of their age, gender, religion or ethnicity. The main aims of the policy are: [6] protecting children from maltreatment preventing impairment of children’s health or development ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care. taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcome.

Based on the fact that almost one in five children today experience serious physical abuse, sexual abuse or severe physical or emotional neglect at some point in their lifetime [7], this policy is crucial in a health care setting such as a nursery as it aids teachers and all staff in knowing what to do if they notice a negative change on a child. They will be able to then take on further action such as contacting the parents, police or social services for example.

Reporting Accidents

The reason why staff need to report any accident or injury that happen with a health care setting is report informs the enforcing authorities (HSE, local authorities and the Office for Rail Regulation (ORR)) about deaths, injuries, occupational diseases and dangerous occurrences, so they can identify where and how risks arise, and whether they need to be investigated. This allows the enforcing authorities to target their work and provide advice about how to avoid work-related deaths, injuries, ill health and accidental loss. [8] The accidents that may occur may not be just on the patient, child or elderly person, they may even be on a member of staff. For example, if an employee were to catch an illness and had to go to hospital, this would be documented as it would be able inform other staff furthermore take further action such as informing parents or checking on patient’s health.

Infection Control

Infection prevention and control is a key element of social care and is vital to the wellbeing of those people who need care and support. It is essential to ensure that people who use health and social care services receive safe and effective care and it must be part of everyday practice and be applied consistently by everyone. For the majority of care staff working in a residential care home or agency – including many who regularly work alone – infection prevention and control training is an important part of their induction.

Ensuring the appropriate infection prevention and control training is provided, helps employers registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to comply with their requirements. Some of the common procedures the staff will be trained to do in a health care setting would be: [9] •Disposable gloves and plastic aprons should be worn for all personal care tasks and when in contact with blood or body fluids. •Cuts and abrasions or skin lesions (broken skin, eczema and psoriasis) should be covered by a waterproof dressing. •Blood and body fluids spillages should be dealt with immediately. •Sharps should be disposed of into an appropriate container. •Clothing and bedding should be handled and machine washed.

If these procedures were not put in place endless of disastrous outcomes could take place. In a nursery, a child may cut their finger furthermore start to grab fruit from a bowl therefore spread his/hers blood as well as possible disease. In regards to a residential unit, if a member of kitchen staff was not to dispose the lid of a tin can, a patient may find it additionally use it to injure themselves and others, causing a huge risk to everyone involved.


Legislations, policies and procedures are vital in a health care setting as it affects the way employees are trained and how they act towards an individual furthermore it also affects the environment in the setting and how the room/building, equipment and furniture is laid out.

A health care setting such as Little Dreams Nursery, it is clear that they follow the law to ensure the safety of the children. As you can see, a fire exit is clear from any objects and potential hazards as well as a grip mat which promotes even more security guarantying that no children will fall over (in wet weather) while doing a fire drill. The mat does not necessary cover the fire drill policy however does support the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The nursery also clearly state their procedure during a fire evacuation – some being stated below [5]:

• All staff and children to assemble in a calm manner to the nearest available fire exit • Room Leader must take the register  • Staff must then do a quick head count whilst nursery manager / person in charge is checking all areas of the nursery • In a calm and quick manner staff must then safely lead all the children to the assembly point (bottom of the garden) • Room leader must then do a thorough head count

If this policy was not in place or was not practiced by both children and staff, consequence could result into serious injury and possibly even death. Children are dependent on staff to guide them to safety as they do not have the ability to do it themselves. This is why all staff at all facilities should know a fire drill procedure off by heart to certify a quick, swift and safe technique.

Another example of how legislations, policies and procedures help to promote the safety and security of individuals in a health care setting is by having staff training courses for all policies and procedures that are involved in the workplace. For instance, staff that work in an elderly home have to take communication training course. This would range from while bathing them, to morning talks. Because elderly people do not have the same social and mental development as they did in earlier years, they get forgetful, confused and sometimes even aggressive.

By having a training course like this, staff and patients will be able to communicate effectively; whether that is in regards to asking about their medications or any difficulties that the individual may be having to staff asking Mr Smith how was he feeling today.








[7] Based on NSPCC research with 11-17 year olds – Radford et al (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today.



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