Health and Social Care
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I am going to identify and explain six potential hazards within a health or social care setting and discuss the health, safety and security risks to the service users arising from the hazards I identify.
A hazard is something that could cause harm and a risk is the chance, high or low that someone could be harmed by that hazard. A health risk is a risk leading to an illness, a safety risk is a risk leading to a personal injury or damage to equipment and buildings and a security risk is a risk leading to theft, abduction, and intruders or leaving without consent.
A first potential hazard that could arise in a health and social care setting is a spillage. For example in a care home, there has been a water spillage on the floor of the hallway. The risk of this hazard is that an older person could slip on the spillage. The harm that may occur from the spillage is that the older person may break bones or could be badly bruised. This is a safety risk. To remove the risk, the spillage could be cleaned up or a wet floor sign put on top of the spillage.
A second potential hazard that could arise in a health and social care setting is hazardous substances. For example, in a hospital, a cleaning cupboard is left unlocked and open; a child goes into the cupboard and drinks a cleaning product. This is a safety risk and a security risk. The risk of a person getting hold of cleaning substances could lead to a safety risk such as burns, scarring being poisoned or dying. There is also health risks as drinking poisonous substances could lead to illnesses and problems in later life. It is finally a security risk, as people could go into the cupboards and steal the products, costing the hospital money and also going against the health and safety at work act. To remove the risk, the cleaning substances should be controlled and locked away.
A third hazard that may arise in a health and social care setting is equipment such as a fire extinguisher. For example in a day centre there is only one fire extinguisher that is located in a place where no one can get to. The risk of this hazard is that if there is a fire, the fire extinguisher is out of reach, making the situation more dangerous. The safety risk of this hazard is that people may be trapped and they cannot put the fire out, causing them to burn or die. The health risk of this hazard is that if people inhale to much smoke from the fire they could possibly have carbon monoxide poisoning or long term breathing problems/lung failure. The risk of this hazard could be overcome by more fire extinguishers being put into place, in easy to reach areas. Also, each person that comes into the building should be told where the fire extinguishers are located. This is a safety and security risk. A fourth hazard that may arise in a health and social care setting is challenging behaviour. The risk of this hazard is that the carer or service user may become aggressive. For example, in a children’s care home, a child is not cooperating with their carer. The harm that may occur is the carer could become aggressive to the child.
To remove the risk, the carer should be changed or should try more strategies to overcome challenging behaviour. This is a safety risk and also a health risk as it could lead to further problems such as depression. A fifth potential hazard that may occur in a health and social care setting is infection. For example, in a sexual health clinic, a patient has a contagious infection called scabies. The risk of this hazard is that the sexual health nurse may catch the infection. The harm that may occur from the hazard is that people could itch the scabies and scar their skin. To remove the risk, the sexual health nurse should wear personal protective equipment, like gloves and an apron. This is a health risk. A sixth potential hazard that may occur in a health and social care setting is lack of staff training. The risk of this hazard is that staff may not know about new laws or rules that have been put into place, putting them or others in danger. For example, in a mental health institute, a mental health nurse has not had staff training for over 2 years and does not know about new laws that have been put into place. The risk of this hazard could be overcome by more or better staff training being put into place. This is a security risk.
Other things that could be hazardous are:
The physical environment includes everything around you. It has a huge impact on the well-being of staff and individuals. For example; poor ventilation in the environment may increase the spread of airborne diseases. Equipment
Equipment must be functioning correctly and fully maintained at all times. Faults must be recorded. Hazards from equipment could include; Untidiness, poor maintenance, unsafe practice and lack of awareness
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is an important part of a company’s or individual’s responsibility to health and safety. This is done using a series of specialised testing procedures on portable appliances. If something is not pat tested, these appliances could be dangerous.
I am now going to outline six of the main legislations used in a health and social care setting and outline how policies and procedures reflect their requirements.
Policy and procedures
A policy is a set of guiding principles to help with decision making. A procedure is how each policy will be put into action in the organisation. Health and safety policies include: Safeguarding
Reporting of accidents
Security of premises, possessions and individuals
Storage and dispensing of medicines
There are many roles and responsibilities within health and safety. The main role and responsibility within health and safety it to follow organisational safety and security procedures; this will maintain the safety of yourself and others. Other roles and responsibilities within health and social care are to minimise risks, understand limits of your own responsibility, deal with incidents and emergences, report and maintain records of incidents and emergences.
The six main legislations I am going to outline are:
Manual handling regulations 1992
Control of substances hazardous to health regulations 2002
Reporting of injuries , diseases and dangerous occurrences regulation 2995 Personal protective equipment at work regulation 1992
Data protection act 1998
Health and safety at work act 1974
Manual handling 1992
According to the health and safety executive “Manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries.” including lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying. If any of these tasks are not carried out appropriately there is a risk of injury. It is the employer’s duty to avoid manual handling if there is a possibility of injury. If this cannot be done then they must reduce the risk of injury as far as reasonably practicable. The employer should avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far as reasonably practicable, assess any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided and take steps to reduce the risks of injury.
According to the health and safety executive, the figures in 2012 – 2013 in the United Kingdom had “148 workers killed at work, 78,000 other injuries to employees were reported under RIDDOR, 175,000 over 7-day absence injuries occurred. 1.1 million working people were suffering from a work related illness, 27 million working days were lost due to work related illness and work related injury and workplace injuries and ill health (excluding cancer) cost society an estimated £13.8 billion”
In order to reduce the risk of injury the person who is handling the load, these steps should be taken: Plan every lift to reduce to be as safe as possible
Use lifting aids when people cannot move independently or when moving heavy objects Avoid lifting from the floor
Avoid twisting your body
Keep the load close to your body
Health and safety at work act 1974
Employers are responsible for the health and safety of anyone on their premises, employers must: 1. Carry out a risk assessment
2. Make sure there is a health and safety policy and appoint someone to be in charge of health and safety issues 3. Keep a record of all accidents
4. Make sure the business is insured
Employees have responsibility to:
1. Take responsibility towards their own and others health and safety 2. Not do anything deliberately that could harm someone else
Control of substances hazardous to health 2002
COSHH is a procedure that comes under the Health and safety at work act 1974. Employers need to either prevent or reduce their workers’ exposure to substances that are hazardous to their health. Substances can be controlled by: Finding out what the health hazards are
Deciding how to prevent harm to health (risk assessment)
Providing control measure to reduce harm to health
Making sure that these measures are used
Keeping all control measures in good working order
Providing information, instruction and training for employees and others Providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases Planning for emergencies
COSHH training can also be introduced to safeguard your employees. COSHH training involves teaching them to identify measures and control the exposure to harmful substances. The COSHH training will help the employee to understanding how and which substances can harm health, how to carry out a risk assessment and also a better understanding of control measures in work.
Here are the signs that would be put on hazardous substances, making you aware of why it is hazardous. Reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulation 1995 Within RIDDOR, certain things should be reported to the local council or the health and safety executive. The things that should be reported are: Deaths
If an employee is away from work for over three days
Injuries to the public when they are taken from the scene of an accident to hospital Some work related diseases
Dangerous occurrences – when something happens that dos not result in injury, but could have been.
When reporting an injury, disease or dangerous occurrence, there are certain things that need to be recorded such as: The date, time and the location of the incident
Personal details of those involved
Brief description of what happened or the nature of the disease
Data protection act 1998
The data protection act is the law based on collecting, holding, using, processing, disclosure and protection of personal data. It controls how your data and information is use by organisations and the government. People who are holding others information have principles they must follow about the information that they are holding. According to GOV they must make sure the information is:
Used fairly and lawfully
Used for limited, specifically stated purposed
Used in a way that is adequate, relevant and not excessive
Kept for no longer than necessary
Handled according to people’s data protection rights
Kept safe and secure
Not transferred outside the UK without adequate protection
Personal information is about living people. Personal information contains things such as; the person’s name, a person’s address and a person’s banking details.
Sensitive information has stronger protection than personal information. This includes information such as; ethnic background, political opinions, religious beliefs, health, sexual health and criminal records.
Information within the data protection act can be breached in certain situations. Information may be breached in someone is putting someone or themself in danger. It may also be breached by the national security or armed forces and in the investigation of a crime.
Information that is under data protection may only be stored in two ways; paper based or electronically. If the information is paper based it should be locked away where people cannot access it, only people who are authorized to. If it is electronic, is should be protected by a password, where only authorized people know the password.
Personal protective equipment at work regulation 1992
PPE (Personal protective equipment) is equipment that is worn to stop potentially harmful substances or conditions. It is a procedure that comes under the Health and safety at work act 1974. PPE is wearing equipment such as:
Eye and face protection (For example: goggles and face shields) Body Protection (For example: aprons and coveralls)
Head protection (For example: hard hats)
Foot and leg protection (For example: safety boots, steel toe boots) Hand protection (For example: gloves)
The Regulations also require that PPE is; properly assed before use, to make sure it is fit for the purpose and also that it is in working condition, maintained and stored properly, provided with instruction on how to use it safely and that it is used correctly by employees.
I am now going to explain possible priorities and responses when dealing with two particular incidents or emergencies in a health and social care setting. The first incident I am going to identify is a fall. I am going to explain the priorities and responses to the incident I have chosen.
An older woman in a residential care home has tripped over a wire while walking to sit down. She has fell onto her stomach and is lay faced down with her arm under her stomach. This could result in an injury to her arm or possibly injury to her head. I would make sure that the wire she fell over is moved so no one else can fall over. I would speak to the older lady to make sure she is conscious and if she is in any pain. These are the steps that I would take within this incident:
These are the steps that I would take:
1. Assess the cause of fall
2. Do not move until told so
3. Ask for any witness
4. If client is able to speak, ask them of any pain or discomfort
5. Observe generally the position of the client, the colour and their conscious level
6. Is the client able to move by themself
7. Only try and move if you are certain nothing is serious
8. You may need to call for help
9. You may need to use equipment to help raise the client to their feet 10. Phone the Doctor to check client over even if they seem uninjured
After this accident, it should be recorded in the accident book. The casualty’s name, the nature of the injury, the time and location of the accident and the first aid treatment given should all be recorded.
The second emergency I am going to identify is a fire evacuation. I am going to explain the priorities and responses to the incident I have chosen.
In a support school a fire has lighted and everyone needs to get out of the building. The school consists of children with learning disabilities, wheelchair users and the staff in the school. I need to make sure that everyone is out of the building and is safe, I also need to make sure that I do a register to make sure who may still be in the building and to make sure who has evacuated.
These are the steps that I would take in this situation (in a fire evacuation): 1. Fire starts
2. Someone identifies fire or the smoke detector identifies the smoke 3. The alarm sets of by detector or by a person
4. Everyone should evacuate the building by walking and not running (wheelchair users should be left under the stair well as it is the safest place for them to wait for help) 5. Persons should leave at the nearest fire exit
6. The fire wardens will arrive and check the building (the will already know the layout of the building as they print it off on the way to the emergency) 7. Everyone should meet at the fire evacuation point
8. A register should be taken at the fire evacuation point, so whoever is missing, the fire wardens will know and can retrieve them from the building (the wheelchair users) 9. The fire will be put out by the fire wardens
I am now going to discuss health, safety or security concerns arising from a specific incident or emergency in a health or social care setting. With the first incident I have chosen; a fall, other concerns may arise from the incident. A first concern that could arise may be another person falling. If I did not move the wire of which the woman fell over, it could put others at risk of injury, as they could fall over the wire too. A second concern that may arise from the incident is infection. When the woman fell, if she had any cuts or grazes, I could have caught infection as I was not wearing any PPE when handling the client. Infections such as HIV can be transmitted from blood to blood contact. A third concern that may arise from the incident is other people panicking. As the woman has fallen, the other service users in the residential home may become panicked, I should make sure everyone is calm.
The second emergency I have chosen; a fire evacuation, other concerns may arise from the emergency. A first concern that could arise may be theft. As the building is empty and unlocked, there could be intruders who may enter the building and rob from the building. A second concern that could arise may be a wheelchair user becoming trapped or stuck. As the building is on fire, they may be left in the room as they are not able to open the door. A third concern that could arise is a wheelchair user being unsafe at the fire evacuation point, or not being able to access it. If the fire evacuation point is on a hill, this could lead to the service user being unsafe as they could roll backwards on the hill. The fire evacuation point may also be inaccessible for a wheelchair user to get to. A final concern that could arise is the fire evacuation point being dangerous. If the fire evacuation point is in a car park for example, this could lead to the service users being ran over.
University of Western Australia – http://www.safety.uwa.edu.au/incidents-injuries-emergency/procedures?SQ_BACKEND_PAGE=main&backend_section=am&am_section=edit_asset&assetid=1706947&asset_ei_screen=contents&sq_link_path=&sq_asset_path=1706947#evac (Accessed 06/03/2014 at 11:29)
Health and safety executive http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/ (Accessed 14/03/2014 at 10:59)
Health and safety executive http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/manual.htm (Accessed 14/03/2014 at 11:18)
http://blog.stocksigns.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/what-do-the-coshh-symbols-mean.jpg (Accessed 14/03/2014 at 11:50)
https://www.gov.uk/data-protection/the-data-protection-act (Accessed 17/13/2014 at 10:04)