Introduction to Health and Safety

We discussed the relevant legislation in regards to health and safety in a care work
setting and the main points of the health and safety policies and procedures agreed with the employer.

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the main piece of Health and Safety law in the United Kingdom. It places responsibilities upon employers and employees for Health and Safety in the workplace.

Employers must:

  • Provide a safe workplace
  • Conduct an assessment of all known risks and identify ways to reduce them
  • Provide information about health and safety
  • Provide free health and safety training
  • Provide safe entry and exit to the workplace.

Employee Responsibilities

As an employee, your responsibilities are: 

  • To take reasonable care of yourself
  • Not to damage or interfere with anything provided for your health and safety
  • To comply with your employer’s health and safety policy.

There is also a responsibility you share with youremployer:

To safeguard the health and safety of anyone in your workplace. This includes your clients and visitors.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 require employers to assess the risk of substances that may be toxic, irritant and corrosive.

In Health and Social Care settings you may come into contact with body fluids. Body fluids include blood, saliva and faeces, these may carry infection and may be toxic.

Employers must assess the risk of infection being spread through contact with body fluids and find ways to reduce them.

PPE at Work Act Regulations 1992

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Work Act Regulations 1992 amended (2002)

The main requirement of this legislation is for employers to assess the risk to their employees of handling potentially hazardous materials and/or the risk of working in potentially hazardous environments. Employers must provide personal protective equipment to manage the risks they have identified.  Personal protective equipment must be provided free of charge.

Employers must also provide employees with training and information so they can take reasonable care of themselves and others.

Employees are required to wear personal protective equipment as directed by their employer.

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014

The role of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is to ensure the care people receive, meets the fundamental standards of quality and safety. These are set out in regulations. Regulation 12 Safe care and treatment states health and social care providers must:

  • Assess the risk of, and prevent, detect and control the spread of  infections, including those that are health care associated; When assessing risk, providers should consider the link between infection prevention and control, antimicrobial stewardship, how medicines are managed and cleanliness.

In January 2015, the Department of Health has issued the Health and Social Care Act 2008: Code of Practice for health and adult social care providers on the prevention and control of infections and related guidance. The aim of this document is to provide information for health and social care providers, people who use their services and the general public to help them understand the requirements for infection prevention and cleanliness. You can view or download a copy from www.gov.uk.

The Hazardous Waste Regulations

The Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2016

The key principles of clinical waste regulations relate to the correct segregation, storage, disposal and documentation of waste.

PUWER - Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

The PUWER Regulations aim to make working life safer for everyone using and coming into contact with machinery and equipment, including employers, employees, contractors, suppliers, and anyone else who might use or have access to machinery in the workplace. The regulations aim to ensure that all equipment is:

  • suitable for its intended purpose
  • regularly maintained to ensure safety
  • only used by people who have received adequate training
  • inspected by a competent worker

Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998

The purpose of the regulations was to reduce the risk of injury from lifting equipment used at work.

 

Areas covered in the regulations include the requirement for lifting equipment to be strong and stable enough for safe use and to be marked to indicate safe working loads; ensuring that any equipment is positioned and installed so as to minimise risks; that the equipment is used safely ensuring that work is planned, organised and performed by a competent person; that equipment is subject to ongoing thorough examination and where appropriate, inspection by competent people

The purpose of the regulations was to reduce the risk of injury from lifting equipment used at work.

 

Areas covered in the regulations include the requirement for lifting equipment to be strong and stable enough for safe use and to be marked to indicate safe working loads; ensuring that any equipment is positioned and installed so as to minimise risks; that the equipment is used safely ensuring that work is planned, organised and performed by a competent person; that equipment is subject to ongoing thorough examination and where appropriate, inspection by competent people

The use of risk assessments in relation to health and safety

Risk assessment is at the centre of all health and safety laws. Risk assessment is something we all do everyday, for example, when we cross the road we make an assessment of the risk to help us decide where and when to cross.

Organisations are required to conduct an assessment of any hazard in the workplace and identify ways to reduce or eliminate the risk of the hazard causing harm. Organisations must write down their risk assessments and review them regularly.

The 5 steps of Risk Assessment

Step 1 – Identify the hazards. For example the environment, is there any trip hazards? 

Step 2- Identify who might be harmed and how, e.g. in the case of one of our residents, are there any places that might be a source of books.

Step 3 – Evaluate the risks and decide if it’s a risk worth taking providing that sufficient controls have been put in place to negate any risks.

Step 4 – Document the risk assessment as per your organisations protocols.

Step 5 – Regularly review and update the assessment when required,  i.e. when there are any changes to 

Procedures for responding to accidents and sudden illness

RIDDOR – Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013

RIDDOR puts duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises (the Responsible Person) to report certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses).

RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) is a UK health and safety legislation. It applies to all ‘responsible persons’ and requires them to correctly report and keep a record of certain injuries and incidents that happen at work. Therefore, as an employer or someone in a position of authority, it is important that you know exactly what the law says.

You must report: Workplace deaths (excluding suicide). Injuries that result in an employee being off work (or unable to complete their normal work duties) for seven consecutive days. Incidents involving members of the public being injured and taken to hospital. However, if a member of the public goes to hospital only as a precaution and they have no reported injuries, it does not need to be logged under RIDDOR.

Specific Injuries

  • Specific Injuries Fractures (excluding fingers, thumbs and toes).

  • Amputation. Loss or reduction of sight. Crush injuries that cause internal organ damage.

  • Serious burns (those that cover more than 10% of the body, or damage the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs).
  • Scalpings (when the skin has become separated from the head) which require hospital treatment.

  • Unconsciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia.

  • Any injury that is a result of working in an enclosed space and leads to hypothermia, heat-induced illness or requires resuscitation or hospital treatment for over 24 hours.

Occupational Injuries

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

  • Occupational Dermatitis.

  • Occupational Asthma.

  • Any occupational cancer.


The Accident Book is an essential document for employers and employees, who are required by law to record and report details of specified work-related injuries and incidents.

It enables businesses to comply with legal requirements under social security and health and safety legislation.

How to reduce the spread of infection in the workplace

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