Care environments are places where accidents can quite often happen, not because staff are careless or fail to check hazards, but because of the vulnerability of the people who use the care facilities.
As people become frail or develop physical conditions which affect mobility such as arthritis or Parkinson’s, they become susceptible to falls and trips because they are unsteady, and the slightest change in surface or level can upset their balance. Increasing age can also result in less flexibility of muscles and joints, meaning that people are less able to compensate for a loss of balance or a slip and are more likely to fall than younger people, who may be better able to save themselves by reacting more quickly.
Age is not the only factor to increase risk. Other factors, such as impaired vision, multiply the risk of accidents from trips, falls, touching hot surfaces and knocking into objects. Hearing loss can increase the risk of accidents where people have not heard someone, or perhaps something such as a trolley, approaching around a corner. Dementia can increase risks because people fail to remember to take care when they move about. They can also forget where they have put things down and fail to understand the consequences of actions such as touching hot liquids or pulling on cupboard doors.
It is important that you develop an awareness of health and safety risks and that you are always aware of any risks in any situation you are in. If you get into the habit of making a mental checklist, you will find that it helps. The checklist will vary from one workplace to another, but could look like the one below.
Checklist for a safe work environment
Floors Are they dry?
Carpets and rugs Are they worn or curled at the edges?
Doorways and corridors Are they clear of obstacles?
Electrical flexes Are they trailing?
Beds Are the brakes on? Are they