In this project I will explore the role of communications and training in the promotion and provision of health and safety in the workplace.
I will outline the principles and procedures of good housekeeping in the workplace.
I will outline the risks associated with exposure to the hazard – dust, and the control measures which might be used in the workplace. I will also identify three hazards that are commonly encountered in the work place and describe how these are controlled.
I will give an explanation of the typical contents of a first-aid kit, and their appropriate uses.
I will explain the risks associated with medication, alcohol and drugs. I will outline for each, the steps which an employer might take to control these risks.
I will outline the risk factors in relation to health, including stress, lifestyle, diet and illness.
I will research, obtain and source information for this project from class discussions, class notes, websites and multimedia.
I will include a reference page listing the resources of information and research for this project
Q1. Explore the role of communications & training in the promotion & provision of Health & safety in the workplace.
Communication definition: the various methods of sending information between people and places
Effective verbal and nonverbal communication is the key to ensure a healthy, safe and productive workplace for all who work there.
Employees and employers have the duties and the responsibilities with regard to health and safety under the Health, Safety and Welfare at Work ACT 2005.
One of the aspects that is paramount to ensuring a safe working environment is the promotion of a“safety culture” , which is simply best defined “how we do things around here” e.g. what personal protective equipment (PPE) people wear, their attitudes and priorities. It is by focusing these on safety that a “safety culture” is created. It will also foster compliance with health and safety polices and reduces accidents and injuries. Effective communication and clearly identified lines of communication provides and promotes health and safety, by identifying potential risks to health and safety, identifying the preventative and protective measures to be implemented and emergency procedures in the event of accidents and identifies the person, by name and job title who is responsible for health and safety.
Communication with employees on health and safety clearly identifies reporting procedures for hazards or concerns regarding health and safety.
Communication at all levels from managers, supervisors, employees ( top down, bottom up) is important to ensure health and safety policies and practices are understood by all involved.
In order for health and safety policies to be effective they must be communicated in a language that can be understood. It must make sense to those workers it is directed at. The information must be relevant to the staff members in different work areas. Information overload should be avoided. Only information directly relevant should be supplied.
Communication health and safety policy can be conveyed in a number of ways; verbally through instructions and staff meetings; putting in place methods to control potential hazards. It is important that everyone shows support and communicated in the following ways:
Senior managers, supervisors and in particular directors, can communicate powerful signals about the importance and significance of health, safety and welfare objectives. They lead by example by frequent health and safety tours in the workplace, chairing meetings or team briefings with the health and safety committee and being actively involved in accident investigations, ill health and incidents.
The visual display of rules and procedures to remind everyone to work safely e.g. safety signs and required procedures. Posters are an effective means of communicating health and safety issues to staff, they should be highly visible and not cluttered with other notices, updated if required and changed at frequent intervals. Health and safety can be communicated in written format in the form of printed materials, brochures, emails and internal memos which may include significant findings from risk assessments;
A wide variety of online videos / DVD’s and films are easily available, aimed to promote and raise awareness in the health, safety and welfare area. Videos / DVD’s can be invaluable to employees are from different countries, as they are available in multi lingual format. Automated audio messaging systems can convey safety messages acoustically e.g. nursing homes (wanderer alert)
Good communication systems allows for continuous monitoring and reviewing of all health and safety policies and procedures in the workplace, ensuring safe work environment for all.
Actively promoting and supporting staff participation in all aspects of the health, safety welfare
A safety representative should be decided on and appointed by employees and by agreement with the employer. The duties of the safety representative are to communicate with the employees and employer / management in the work place on matters regarding safety, health and welfare.
Information must relayed to all staff regarding health and safety policies and procedures in the workplace, this aids in the prevention of accidents and ill health. Problems are highlighted and means of over-coming them are identified. When changes are taking place, consultations are very important e.g. when there is an introduction of new technology, different work processes, or drawing up a safety plan. Day-to-day communications from supervisors and staff can reinforce the information communicated by other methods.
It is important to receive advice from health, safety and welfare inspectors at the workplace.
It must be ensured that staff are aware their duties and responsibilities with regard to health and safety, some examples : to give full co-operation to their employers, to use correctly and not to interfere or misuse safety equipment, attend training, report if something is dangerous.
Accidents must be reported and record made of it in an accident/incident report form. All employees must check the procedure for reporting and recording accidents and incidents in their workplace. All reports must be accurate, stating just the facts, be readable, comprehensible and logical, signed, dated and stored securely.
Role of communication in promoting health and safety in the work place provides for monitoring of inspections and provision of feedback. Overall the purpose of inspection, monitoring and review is to gauge the effectiveness of the health, safety and welfare culture within the workplace.
Workplace inspections are often conducted by a safety officer or by a representative from a health, safety and welfare organisation e.g. the HSA. These inspections seek to identify any hazards that may be present, some examples are : PPE use and condition, slip, trip and fall hazards, presence of safety signs, unsafe storage of materials, compliance with specific regulations.
An inspection has little purpose if it is not followed up, this is done in the form of a report which highlights good practices any problems. The report should recommend actions to correct any problems. These actions should be carried out by an appointed, responsible person within an agreed timescale. If any issues are to be rectified, then an arrangement must be made for a return inspection.
The main purpose of monitoring is to make sure that health and safety in the workplace is managed effectively, it can be made up of many activities, which include the following examples: general site inspections of health and safety equipment, the workplace conditions. Are there any obvious hazards ? Is housekeeping having an effect in reducing the risk? Observation of how people are working in the workplace to access to see if it is safe during normal practice. Are staff wearing and using the correct PPE? Is equipment in safe, fit for purpose condition and being used properly?, Checks of training records and logs to make sure staff have received approved training, has it been effective?, and to gauge if any extra training is required.
A health and safety management system will become obsolete, if neglected, and corrode into a system of “the way we’ve always done things here”. Technologies, equipment and materials are always changing and advancing. They can bring changes to working practices and thus bring new hazards. Reviewing is an ongoing process, and must be aware of any changes to legislation and regulatory requirements. Health and safety must be placed on the agenda of any meetings or team briefings as it is an effective way for stimulating reviews of its effectiveness. Sometimes it is not the complete health and safety system that is reviewed e.g. a review date is included in all risk assessments, which means that these will be reviewed regularly and appropriately updated. Reviews are also carried out after an incident related to health and safety.
The individuals who are involved with managing the health and safety system should have involvement in the review, from the “top to bottom” to collect as much information as possible e.g. interviews, documentation and observation. They constitute the ‘feedback loop’ that enables the workplace to reinforce, develop and maintain its ability to reduce risks and to ensure the health and safety management system continues to be effective to the fullest possible extent.
Training definition: The action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behaviour.
Training is one of the highest-leverage activities an employer or manager can perform,
“Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill”.
Training gives employees the essential knowledge and skills that they need to do their job.
Effective training saves labour by not wasting time spent on problem-solving and saves money in the long run by producing better workers in the workforce. Job satisfaction generally increases and self-esteem improves when employees have a better understanding of the workings of the workplace. Training provides positive attitudes and also enhances morale among the workforce and loyalty to the employer. Workers who believe their employer offers excellent training opportunities are less likely to leave their jobs within a year of training than employees with poor training.
Training identifies and gives clarification the roles and duties which are appropriately assigned to the employer and the employees.
Individuals who have a combination of training, skills, experience, knowledge and has the ability to apply and perform them, may be appointed as safety representatives.
All employers have a duty under the health and safety to all employees under the Health and Safety, Welfare at Work Act 2005 to provide training on health and safety to all employees. Under the act employees have a duty to attend training.
Training in health and safety is very important to provide and promote a safe work environment and implement safe work practices “see it, sort it” . Training equips employees with the attitude, skills and knowledge to operate equipment safely, carry out safe work practices, identify hazards and risks and implement control measures and emergency procedures when needed to eliminate the hazard or reduce the risk .
Training provides for safe systems of work, wearing PPE and reporting hazards and accidents. It provides employees with confidence in their ability to do their work and take responsibility for their own and colleagues health and safety.
Staff should be trained in infection control practices and the process of “Donning and Doffing” i.e., putting on and removing PPE. Training in health, safety and welfare reduces the frequency and severity of workplace and minimizes accidents, injuries and illnesses. As staff gain skills in safe work practices, it reduces absenteeism due to injury at work, and reduces employers exposure to claims for breaches in health and safety law.
Staff must be competent and has the knowledge and skills to keep equipment maintained and in a good state of repair and working properly in order to avoid presenting a risk of injury to themselves or others. Records of examinations, testing and servicing and maintenance checks must be kept.
The training needs of staff should be constantly monitored and reviewed to ensure they are competent in health and safety work practices and procedures. If any unsafe work practices are detected and health, safety and welfare measures are not followed, the work or activity must be ceased until they are corrected and safety controls are fully complied with.
Training should be provided on induction in a new job or workplace, on being promoted to a different position, transferred to a new department, on introduction of new equipment, technology or following an incident where new health and safety procedures are required.
In healthcare settings, training has to be provided on an ongoing basis in infection prevention and control, first aid, safe patient handling, MAPA, SOVA, handwashing technique, 5 moments of hand hygiene and fire safety.
As part of health and safety procedures, it is policy all staff working with vulnerable adults and children have to be Garda vetted.
To keep staff informed of current health and safety policies, and any change to systems of work, the provision of ongoing refresher training courses are implemented.
Policies, training, development programs and workshops must be put in place to raise awareness of bullying and discrimination in the workplace e.g. bullying and harassment in the workplace, equality and diversity awareness, relationship skills and communication training.
Q2. Outline the principles & procedures of good house-keeping in the workplace.
Good housekeeping is the foundation of a safe, healthy and pleasant workplace. It sounds simple, and it is. Good housekeeping is one of the best ways to keep workplaces safe, yet in these days of increased workloads and tighter timelines its extremely easy to neglect good housekeeping, sometimes with disastrous results.
Over 30 percent of accidents that occur in the workplace are due to slips, trips and falls, which can put employees out of work for weeks, reducing productivity and decreasing the morale of the staff. It is clear then that good housekeeping is vital for the health and safety of any workplace.
Examples of accidents caused by poor housekeeping are: Slipping on spilled substances, wet, greasy, dirty surfaces ; Tripping over loose objects on the floor, platforms, stairs; Being hit by falling objects from high shelves, and being cut or stabbed by sharps.
Good housekeeping benefits the both employers and employees alike. If done effectively it can eliminate some hazards in the workplace and get a job done properly, and importantly safely.
Some examples of the benefits of good housekeeping are :
The elimination of clutter, which is a common cause of workplace accidents, such as slips, trips and falls, and fires and explosions. It can also give more effective use of space;
Improved control on the inventory of materials and tools; The reduction of harmful materials e.g. dust and vapours entering the body ; more hygienic conditions in the workplace leading to improved staff’s health;
Reduction on property and machinery damage, clean up and maintenance will be more efficient.
The improved and orderly look and feel of the workplace will reflect a well-run business, it will give a good impression to all that enter it. It will also boost staff morale and wellbeing.
The workplace will be comfortable, neat and pleasant, not a dangerous chaotic mess.
There are still many signs of poor housekeeping in workplaces everywhere today, as some employers think it’s a waste of time: Poorly arranged, untidy and cluttered areas, improper and dangerous storage of materials; Dirty, wet, greasy, floors and surfaces, spills and leaks; Blocked exits and aisles, broken damaged materials, and unwanted, excess damaged, obsolete items not properly removed and disposed of.
Put simply, Good housekeeping is a matter of keeping the workplace clean and tidy. This must be a priority to maintain a safe and healthy workplace.
Effective housekeeping is an ongoing operation and should not be hit-and-miss, with the occasional clean-up done. Periodic, spur of the moment or so called “panic” clean-ups can be very costly and ineffective in the reduction of accidents.
Good housekeeping standards must be set in the workplace. It is important that they are clear, objective and attainable. These standards, should make work easier, healthier and safer in the workplace. Team work is essential in good housekeeping, so it is very important that all employees are involved in setting standards. If employees come across any signs of bad housekeeping, its good if they implement the “see it, sort it” mentality, that can eliminate a hazard in their workplace.
Measures must be taken to how well all the standards are met, and their effectiveness monitored. The introduction of the use of checklists can aid in the systematically measure housekeeping. Good housekeeping procedures must be put in place and implemented.
The law, requires employers to provide safe systems of work that are planned, organised, maintained and performed, these are a set of procedures to which work must be carried out, must be followed.
All work areas are to be kept as clean as possible. A clean, tidy, attractive work area in the workplace sets the tone in which the work is enjoyed by its staff. It encourages clean and tidy work habits in staff. It helps in the reduction of fatigue. It promotes a healthy relationship between staff and management. Morale is lifted amongst the workers, which is reflected in the quality of overall production and efficiency;
Smoking, eating or drinking in the work area of the workplace should be strictly prohibited where toxic materials are handled. The eating area should be separate from where the work area is.
Aisles and entrance areas must be kept clear at all times and should not be used for temporary “overflow” storage, Importantly exits must also be kept clear of any obstructions, to ensure that everyone can safely escape from the workplace in the event of fire or any other emergency;
Floors and walkways must be kept clean, dry, maintained, in good condition and clear of any debris, and any slippery conditions eliminated. Absorbent materials such as floor mats can be used in functional areas to remove dirt and moisture from the bottom of footwear. Dusty areas including places that may be normally overlooked e.g. overhead, must be frequently, vacuumed or wet swept/cleaned;
Items in the workplace must be safely stacked and stored e.g. hoists, wheelchairs, bed linen, continence wear, dressings. Storage of all materials used for work, e.g. paper products, flammable liquids, chemicals, cleaning products, bleaches in approved clearly labeled containers in only specific designated areas. All storage containers that are outdoors must have lids that are adequately closed;
Provide an adequate number of litter bins for clients, visitors and employees and proper use of approved containers for recyclable waste, and biological waste. Staff must be trained in the safe use and disposal of sharps;
Sprinklers, fire alarms and fire extinguishers must be kept free from obstruction and regularly serviced. Training on fire safety must be provided to all staff in the workplace.
Spillages and any type of leak must be cordoned off, adequate wet floor signage put in place as part of the cordon system, until properly cleaned and dried up.
Staff must be trained and have the knowledge of the different colour codes, to know which mop and bucket to use on each occasion e.g. blue for general low risk areas, green for food areas, red for general washroom areas and yellow for clinical areas. Patients equipment e.g. wheelchairs must be regularly cleaned and well maintained, checked to make sure there is no rust, dust, dirt, spillages or body substances. Bedside lockers must be damp dusted. Any broken or damaged tools, equipment etc. must be fixed or reported. All staff must follow maintenance requirements and adhere to the policy of entering relevant details into the maintenance book, signed and dated and reported to the safety representative;
All lighting fixtures and sources must be kept clean and clear to significantly improve essential lighting efficiency in the workplace. Stairways, corridors and aisles are also important to be well lit in the prevention of accidents and maintaining a safe work environment;
Proper procedures must be used when handling materials and maintaining good housekeeping to avoid dangerous accidents caused by poorly stacked items that may fall or slide down and objects obstructing areas that could cause injuries, slips, trips or falls. Shelves and racks must be checked that they are sturdy and in good condition. Heavy items that weigh more than 6.8 kilograms or 15 pounds must be stored on shelves at a height between the shoulders and knees and lighter items higher up. When using a ladder or step stool to reach items on high shelves, it should be inspected that it is not damaged and in good condition. Stretching or overreaching should be avoided, as it may lead to loss of balance and falling or causing musculoskeletal injuries. All objects stored on shelves or racks should not be loose or falling over and should be secured. Never use boxes or chairs to stand on to reach shelves or racks. Nothing should be stacked so high that it could block fire sprinklers or be in contact or near overhead pipes or lighting on the ceiling;
It is a safe policy to announce or knock and unhurriedly open the door of any walk-in area used for storage that leads directly into a location with high-traffic;
Compressed gas cylinders e.g., helium, carbon dioxide should be stored, restrained securely and standing in an upright position with valve caps on. Flammable liquids must be stored properly in sealed containers and placed in a designated area appropriate for the different hazards that they may pose;
Employers must provide safety signage where there may be significant risks to employees and others in the workplace. Safety signage is also for those who may be operating equipment that may have a requirement for verbal and/or non-verbal communications. All signage where required must be clear and not obstructed;
A strict policy on proper hand washing and the five moments of hygiene procedures must be implemented. Provision of personal protective clothing (PPE) depending on the level of precautions and different types specific duties in the workplace. Training must be given to staff to implement proper putting on and removal of PPE (“Donning and Doffing”). Policies for all staff to wear approved slip resistant footwear for the prevention of slips and skids. Staff must be trained in the proper policies and procedures in the process of safe handling of laundry and its segregation e.g. laundry that is used, but not contaminated with bodily fluids (towels, hoist slings), laundry that is contaminated with bodily fluids, heat labile fabrics. Staff working with laundry segregation must be offered Hepatitis B imunisation, have proper hand hygiene, shower facilities.
Proper good housekeeping order is always maintained and not achieved. A good housekeeping program identifies and allocates responsibilities for the following: cleaning up during the work shift, day to day clean-up, unused materials removed, inspections to ensure that the cleanup is completed.
Q3. Outline the risk associated with dust and the control measures that may be used in the work place.
A hazard is a potential source of harm that may cause injury or illness to a person
A risk is an unplanned, unexpected, undesired event, usually resulting in injury or illness
Dust is a fine dry powder consisting of tiny particles of earth or waste matter lying on the ground, surfaces or carried in the air
The Hierarchy of hazard control
Any exposure to dust in excessive amounts, during work activities can create respiratory problems and a variety of other risks.
Asbestos is the name for a group of natural occurring mineral fibres which are strong and both heat and chemically resistant (HSA.ie)
Asbestosis is a serious respiratory disease caused by exposure over years, of occupational asbestos.
Microscopic fibers of asbestos are inhaled and then become trapped in the body developing into lung disease, causing scarring of the lungs, restriction of breathing and interference with oxygen entering the blood stream.
Asthma is where the airways become extra sensitive and have reaction to things that would normally not cause a problem, such as cold air or dust. When dust enters the airway, the muscles around its wall tighten up, making it narrow and restricting air to flow in and out. This can be serious in some attacks of asthma.
Cheese washers lung
Cheese washers lung an inflammation that is caused by being exposed to harmful agents and regularly inhaling organic dusts, such as fungi, animal proteins or bacteria.
Coughing bouts / attacks
Coughing is caused by foreign particles like dust irritating the airways and lungs
Eyes can be irritated and weepy when dust particles enter the eye, the front covering of the eye called the cornea can be scratched and is worsened when the eye opens and closes. This causes pain, watering, redness and sensitivity to light.
Farmers lung is an allergic disease usually caused by breathing in the dust containing spores of bacteria that from some agricultural operations, for example crops that are moldy e.g. Hay, corn, silage, straw and grain. Tobacco can also be a cause.
Dust particles, depending on the source, inorganic or organic can contain toxic substances, fungi or infected microbes are known to be associated with lung cancer risk
Rhinitis is also known as hay fever. It occurs when the body’s immune system makes a mistake identifying a typically harmless substance such as dust as an intruder or pathogen. The body’s immune system responds to the allergen by releasing an organic compound called histamine that causes symptoms in the nose, throat, ears, eyes, skin and the roof of the mouth.
Scar tissue on lungs
Scar tissue on lungs is caused by a variety of problems including exposure over a long period of time to pollutants in the air. The construction industry is a common risk area for the inhalation of dust particles of metal, wood, silica and concrete, that cause damage to the lungs.
Silicosis is a lung disease that is caused by the inhalation of dust particles of silica, which is a mineral that is part of rock, sand and ores found in mining, glass manufacturing and foundry occupations. Over time, exposure to these particles cause scarring to the lungs harming the ability to breath properly.
Dust can irritate skin and make some people itchy and can have allergic reactions to it.
Sneezing bouts / attacks
Sneezing is caused foreign particles like dust irritating the nasal passage.
Substitution of materials that are less harmful is a step that can be taken to reduce the risks of harm caused by dust. An example of this would be wall crack filler, plaster repair products that usually came in packets of powder form, can now be got in paste form in a tube. The risk of the powder particles that can harm will no longer be airborne.
In the construction industry, the use of correct size building materials should be used where possible, so that less preparation and cutting is required. Tools that are less powerful can be used e.g. using a block splitter instead of a saw.
Depending on the work taking place, limiting the number of workers exposed in the area where work is being done, rotating the workers doing the task, using temporary sheeting or screens to enclose the work to stop dust escaping.
The selection of work clothing worn that do not keep hold of dust can reduce the spread of dust.
If measures in the Hierarchy of hazard control are not sufficient, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is to be provided. e.g. masks, gloves, goggles.
Training is important, so that workers know about the risks associated with dust and how it can harm their health. Knowledge on how to properly use dust controls in place and check that they are working and effective, how to maintain and clean equipment and how to use their PPE equipment effectively using health and safety standards.
Installation of ventilation and extraction systems removes dusty air from indoors or enclosed work areas. Negative air machines and air scrubbers use pressure to filter air and are used for containing particles and contaminants in that are airborne. e.g. dust, metal fumes, saw dust, smoke, mold, dirt, fungi and various other materials that may be hazardous.
Good housekeeping is crucial in the work place and can eliminate hazards. All work areas should be always clean and kept in an orderly state and a sanitary condition. The use of vacuum machines instead of sweeping should be the preferred method of cleaning. Other options are using compressed air or steam, commonly known as “Blow-downs”. This method is only allowed for unsafe surfaces or areas that may be inaccessible.
Dust can stick to peoples skin, hair and clothing in the workplace, so there must adequate washing facilities available. These facilities, whenever possible should be in an area that is easily accessible and situated close to the place where the dust is created.
Work mats should be cleaned regularly and maintained, this helps the spread of dust.
Q3.(ii) Identify 3 hazards which are commonly encountered in the workplace and briefly describe how these are controlled.
Wet, Slippery floors.
Wet, Slippery floors can lead to slips, trips and falls.
All spills should be removed instantly using mops and absorbent materials. The absorbent materials used in the clean-up procedure must be removed as soon as they become saturated. Workplace policy should be always followed. Sometimes it may not be possible for spill removal straight away e.g. a large spill, viscous / hazardous liquid spillages. Spills should never be left unattended. Appropriate cleaning equipment accessible in the workplace. All areas needs to be cordoned off . Wet floor / caution signs should be set up to alert people that the immediate area should be avoided, that it may be slippery and to proceed with caution. All workers must be fully trained using workplace policies and good housekeeping practices regarding spillages, using correct procedures for mopping and cleaning up of spillages. There may be a person nominated in the workplace for whom is to be contacted on occasions where certain spills of materials may need to be identified. Spillage of oily or greasy substances will require a detergent solution to aid in its removal.
For workplaces that use chemicals or oils, special “spill kits” must be fully stocked and on site. They are developed for a quick response clean-up and may be performed if a spillage of occurs.
There are different spill kits, they can contain usually two or three types of equipment. Personal protective equipment (PPE), a drum or container, sorbents and equipment to stop leakages.
A slippery floor is a serious hazard, a way to prevent slips, trips and falls in the workplace is the provision of non-slip mats and tiles. It is essential that they are properly designed and fitted properly. Sometimes safety mats edges are highlighted with a contrasting colour.
All employers have the responsibility to control risks from slips, trips and falls by conducting specific assessments and audits to ensure all safety responsibilities are met. They provide (PPE) e.g. appropriate slip-resistant footwear. There are various types of so called, “safety shoes” for different work environments. Employers must ensure that staff receive safety training and adhere to all policies that are in place. High risk floor areas need to be identified and dealt with to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls.
In wet weather conditions, a safe approach is to make sure entrances and exits are slip resistant inside and outside. Entrance areas where pedestrians go from wet to dry, must be monitored for safe effectiveness, the floor area must not have tracks or foot prints beyond the mats.
Precautions must be taken by individuals to remove excess moisture from their footwear.
Density is important decision in the placement of mats. Matting made from soft materials can cause problems for wheelchair users as it compresses. It can also be a trip hazard to individuals using walking sticks or frames.
Drip trays must be used to contain leaks of oils / lubricants onto the floor from machinery
All workers have responsibilities in relation to the control of the risks of wet and slippery floors. They must report spills, loose mats, damaged flooring and they must use (PPE) and take proper care of it.
Appropriate mats and warning signage must be placed in areas of highly-polished floors as they can be very slippery even when they are dry e.g. concrete, ceramic, marble, waxed surfaces, also in areas where individuals walk from one type of surface to another e.g. carpet to linoleum. Non-skid waxes and grit coated tiling to create non-slip surfaces in slippery areas such as toilets.
False flooring, platforms, appropriate waterproof footwear, mats may be used to maintain drainage in areas where wet processes are used
Biological Hazards can lead to infections e.g. Norovirus, MRSA, CPE, Influenza, Hepatitis B.
Workers, especially those who work in healthcare are exposed to biological hazards. Types of things workers may be exposed to are blood, faeces, vomit, injuries from blades and needles (sharps).
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 states that employers are required to manage and ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees and others in the workplace.
A risk assessment should be performed to find out if certain vaccinations are required for employees in a specific work setting. This is a requirement under the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act (Biological Agents Regulations) . It should ideally be done before starting employment or work placement. A strict immunisation policy should be enforced. A decision for a worker to be vaccinated should be based on the activities they perform rather than the job title they have. All workers in the healthcare setting, clinical, non-clinical and those who have direct contact with patients should have immunisation against Hepatitis B. Annually all healthcare workers must also be offered the seasonal influenza vaccination.
All staff must undergo training on infection and infection control. Standard precautions must always be implemented. Personal hygiene is very important, wearing clean machine washable work clothing / uniforms each day. Hair must always be clean, away from the face and touching it must be avoided during client personal care.
Strict policies implemented on staff training in hand washing techniques. Handwashing is the single most effective thing to do to prevent the spread of infections.
Staff must have training provided in the 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene and the effective six step hand washing technique .
The provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential : masks, goggles/visors, aprons, gloves etc. Although using gloves reduce the risk of contact with bodily fluids and blood, they are not a substitute for hand washing. The correct procedures in the removal of gloves and aprons etc. must be adhered to.
Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette should be used when patients have signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection e.g. congestion, cough, fever. Mouth and nose must be covered with a one-use tissue when coughing or sneezing. The tissue must be disposed of in the nearest waste bin and hand hygiene to be carried out.
In the event there is a suspected infection outbreak e.g. where there are cases of diarrhea / vomiting in the workplace, effective infection control is essential. In serious cases of infection breakouts, infected individuals must be isolated. All outbreaks must be reported and monitored.
Laundry and linen must be removed carefully, avoiding creating dust, segregated then placed into the appropriate bags or containers. PPE must be worn and disposed of after the task is complete, followed by handwashing.
Supervision, training and information for healthcare employees on the correct steps and methods to be followed when handling and disposing of biological, infectious waste e.g. contaminated paper towels, soiled items, cloths used for cleaning spills, used aprons and gloves should be put immediately into approved specific colour coded plastic bags, which are tied securely, correctly segregated and removed to a secure area or unit suitable for waste.
Healthcare workers using needles or syringes (sharps) are personally responsible for their safe disposal into an approved sharps container. Gloves should always be worn handling sharps. There is always a risk of needle stick injuries, where the needle accidently penetrates the skin. If this happens, it is important to use the “bleed, wash, report” actions. Bleeding from the wound should be encouraged by gently squeezing and pushing the area. The would should be then washed under cool running water then covered by a waterproof plaster or dressing. The incident must be reported immediately to the persons in charge and where required an accident / incident paperwork completed and workplace policy followed. Assessment of the injury must be carried out by a medical professional.
It is important for the assessment of infection control in all areas of the workplace by the infection control team, this is where audits should be regularly carried out, incorporating the policies in place, knowledge of basic principles, procedures, and workplace practice review.
Definition : Workplace violence occurs where people in the course of their employment are aggressively verbally abused, threatened or physically assaulted. hsa.ie
Every year, over 5 percent of all workplace accidents that are reported in Irish workplaces are
due to violence. The health and social work sectors are 2nd in the top five.
The types of physical and verbal abuse examples are slaps, kicks, spitting, thumps, hair pulling, being sworn and shouted at. This can lead to stress, bruises, cuts. Employees who experience violence also often suffer from loss of self-confidence and increased feelings of fear, panic, loss of control and insecurity. This can lead to being absent from work.
Occupational violence is not limited to the workplace buildings but also can occur in the client / patients homes or temporary facilities.
Managing violence and aggression is aimed to prevent incidents where possible, and minimized where this is not possible
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 and the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2006 require that employers ensure the safety and health of all employees. It is required that employers carry out risk assessments and prepare a safety Statement by finding out if there is a problem and how serious it is by identifying the hazards, assessing the risks to health and safety from violent acts and implementing appropriate safeguards. In workplaces in the health sector violence is a potential hazard, where there is interaction between, employees, people, clients, patients, visitors and must be assessed accordingly.
Employee training with MAPA® must be done in order to teach and equip healthcare employees if they are confronted by challenging aggressive behavior. MAPA® stands for Management of Actual or Potential Aggression. They deliver thorough training that teaches verbal / physical de-escalation and distraction techniques to cope with forms of unsavory behaviour in a professional and safe manner. Training in first aid, manual handling, emergency procedures must also be provided.
Working alone (lone working) e.g. in the community, has its own unique risks and may be vulnerable working in individuals homes and may have limited control over their work environment. These need to be taken into consideration by both employer and employee as part of a risk assessment exercise.
Where possible, lone workers e.g. homecare healthcare assistants must be given client history prior the visit, and any relevant information e.g. bad experiences reported from previous visits. Communication with healthcare employees that may be working away from the main work base is important. Mobile phones including emergency code words, speed-dials 2- way radio systems, personal duress panic alarms are essential. These communication devices won’t prevent the occurrence of incidents, but if used with correct robust procedures, they can improve the protection of workers who work alone.
A policy may be implemented for healthcare workers to work in pairs while working with clients with challenging behavior.
On site security personnel and good security systems e.g. CCTV (closed circuit television) can prevent violent or aggressive incidents occurring in health care workplaces. They can be a vital tool for the early detection of potential incidents involving patients, visitors or a staff member.
There must be clear procedures for employees to follow in the event of a violent or aggressive incident and the employer must clarify that any sort of aggression and violence is unacceptable.
Employees who may become exposed to instances of aggression and violence will be provided with sensitive and practical support to assist them cope with the occurrence.
Q4. Explain the typical contents of a First-Aid Kit, & their appropriate uses.
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