The health care sector is complex and covers a variety of professions and work places facing different occupational health hazards and associated health problems. A hazard, in general, refers to anything with the potential to cause harm in terms of human injury or ill-health, damage to property, damage to the environment or a combination of these, e.g. chemical substances, machinery or methods of work. Risk is dependent on the likelihood that a hazard may occur, together with the severity of the harm suffered or consequences. Risk is also dependent on the number of people who might be exposed to the hazard. The first step in safeguarding safety and health is to identify hazards and risk from materials, equipment, chemicals and work activities. The employer is required to systematically examine the workplace and work activities to identify workplace-generated hazards. The risk is the likelihood of harm occurring and the severity of the consequences if it does. The employer must assess if a risk is high, medium or low. The appropriate control measures to eliminate the hazards as far as possible must be reviewed. Completely eliminating all hazards may not, of course, always be entirely possible. Therefore the control measures put into place must reduce the risk of injury or effects to health to the absolute minimum.
Hazards in healthcare may be considered under the headings of physical, chemical, biological and psychosocial hazards include: Manual handling activities involving heavy, awkward or hard to reach loads where there is a risk of injury. Slipping and tripping hazards such as wet or poorly maintained floors. Poor housekeeping such as hazardous cleaning, disinfecting or sterilising agents. Waste disposal as clinical waste and needle sticks.
Infection include any virus and bacteria that can cause infection, allergies or toxic effects. Human factors such as bullying at work and dealing with aggressive behaviour. Fire
Faulty electrical wiring and electrical equipment.
The term manual handling includes lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving a load, which due to characteristics of the load or unfavourable ergonomic conditions, involves a risk of back injury to workers. The term is used here to mean both the manual handling of inanimate loads, such as laundry cages and catering trolleys, and people handling involving residents with restricted mobility.
To prevent injury, particularly back injury training for staff in the practice of manual handling must be provided in each healthcare setting before they are permitted or expected to move people. Training must include demonstrations of how people should be assisted correctly with the use of equipment. This helps staff to avoid as much as possible manual handling without equipment and to assist people to move themselves, thus encouraging a feeling of independence for the person. Staff should be taught how to move people who are unable to move themselves, even with assistance in the safest possible way whilst avoiding injury to themselves, colleagues and the person they are moving. Equipment must be checked on a regular basis and the manufacturer's instructions read and clearly understood. If equipment is not work correctly it should be taken out of use and clearly marked as not being in use. If this is not done, harm could be caused to care workers and patients alike.
The types of equipment in healthcare settings to use for safe manual handling include: hoist-electrical and manual,
sliding sheets/boards/other patient transfer aids,
wheelchairs with removable armrests,
equipment to raise toilet seats and chairs,
Slips, Trips and Falls
Slips, trips and falls are one of the main causes of injury in healthcare. Health and safety law requires that there is safe entry and exit into the workplace. In healthcare setting floors must be in good condition and, as far as...
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