Understanding common induction

Common Induction Standard 8: health and safety in a social care setting

Standard 8 is divided into the following eleven parts:

Overview

This standard has many parts but one single aim: safety, both of the worker and the service user. Much of it is common sense but the nature of care work makes health and safety critical. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a whole section on its website entitled Health and Social Care Services and you will find it helpful to look at this. There is also a free booklet, Health and Safety in Care Homes which covers most parts of this standard and can be printed out. If you work in home care, you will find Health and Safety for Home Care Workers, produced by Unison, very helpful

If you are employed directly to support someone in their own home, you will need to consider how this standard applies to you.

Which CQC Essential Standards does this relate to?

  • Outcome 4: care and welfare of people who use services: People should receive safe and appropriate care that meets their needs and supports their rights.
  • Outcome 5: meeting nutritional need: Food and drink should meet people’s individual dietary needs.
  • Outcome 8: cleanliness and infection control: People should be cared for in a clean environment and protected from the risk of infection.
  • Outcome 9: management of medicines: People should be given the medicines they need when they need them, and in a safe way.
  • Outcome 10: safety and suitability of premises: People should be cared for in safe and accessible surroundings that support their health and welfare.
  • Outcome 11: safety, availability and suitability of equipment: People should be safe from harm from unsafe or unsuitable equipment.

Roles and responsibilities relating to health and safety in the work setting/situation

Everyone has a part to play. Your employer has a responsibility to see that your working environment is safe and to give you training to make sure you do your work in a safe way. You have a responsibility not only for your own health and safety, but also for that of your colleagues and the people you look after. 

Look at the following resources:

Check your understanding

  • Write a list of those people in your organisation who have responsibilities for health and safety. Check this with your supervisor.
  • If you work in other people’s homes, you need to be even more aware of health and safety. Why?

Did you know?

Health and safety is based on common sense and good practice.

Record what you have learned

Use the Learning Record Form to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have.

Health and safety risk assessments

You need to assess the risk connected with the tasks you are going to carry out. For example, if you are using a hoist, you need to know exactly how to use it and check that it is safe to use in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. This applies to any form of moving and positioning of people. When you run a bath, you need to think about the risk of scalding.

Look at the following resources:

Check your understanding

  • Write a short piece for your supervisor explaining what is meant by a risk assessment. Then do a risk assessment for making a cup of tea for a person with Parkinson’s disease using the HSE five steps.

Did you know?

  • Every time you cross a busy road, you actually do a subconscious risk assessment.

Record what you have learned

  • Use the Learning Record Form to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have.

Moving and positioning

Although this is a very common part of care work, it is also one which can be challenging both for the care worker and the person being moved. The result could be an injury which could affect either person for the rest of their lives. Your employer must ensure that you are properly trained before you are allowed to move and position people and your manager must sign to say that you are competent to undertake such tasks. You will also have to update your knowledge on a regular basis.

Look at the following resources:

  • The HSE has a section on its website called Moving and Handling in Health and Social Care. You need to look at this very carefully. It will help you understand some of the theory.
  • Social Care TV on excellence: moving and positioning are used in different settings. Watch the video and discuss whether the moving and positioning is done correctly.

Check your understanding

  • What objects might you have to move and position in your job?
  • When might you have to move and position people?
  • What does dignity and respect have to do with moving and positioning?

Did you know?

  • One of the highest causes of sickness absence in social care is injury caused by using the wrong or inadequate techniques for moving and positioning.

Record what you have learned

  • Use the Learning Record Form to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have.

Responding to accidents and sudden illness

Your employer will have a policy that meets the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1985 (RIDDOR). You need to know what to do in the case of an accident (e.g. a fall or a sudden illness, a heart attack). It is likely that you will receive emergency first aid training. However, you should not do anything that you have not been trained to do. If in doubt, don’t – seek help.

Look at the following resources:

Check your understanding

  • Fill in the chart at Reporting an Incident.
  • Make a list of the common types of accident that occur in your place of work. How do you think they could be reduced or prevented?
  • Why is it important to report accidents? Check your answer with your supervisor.

Did you know?

  • Employers can be fined if they do not follow the right procedures after an accident.

Record what you have learned

  • Use the Learning Record Form to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have.

Agreed ways of working regarding medication and health care tasks

You must not undertake any of these tasks unless you have been properly trained and have been authorised to do so.

Some of the tasks you will be asked to perform will involve handling medication or undertaking other health care-related tasks. Your employer will have a policy which states who can administer medication and how it should be done and recorded, as well as procedures in case of a mistake.  

Look at the following resources:

Check your understanding

  • Look at your employer’s medication policy. Ask your supervisor to explain anything you do not understand.
  • Why is it so important to follow the right procedures in administering medication?

Did you know?

  • A survey by the University of Surrey in 2009 found that 7 out of 10 residents in care homes were victims of medication error.

Record what you have learned

  • Use the Learning Record Form to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have.

Handling hazardous substances

Sometimes your work will involve dealing with hazardous substances – especially cleaning materials, but also infected or dirty material of various types. It is important to know how to do this in a way that is safe both for yourself and for other people. There is a set of regulations which cover this issue, known as the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH).

Look at the following resources:

Check your understanding

  • Make a list of all the hazardous substances you have encountered this week. For each one, describe how you dealt with it.
  • Were you surprised at some of the things that came under the category of hazardous? How will you deal with them differently in the future?

Did you know?

  • Your  employer has to do a risk assessment for all the hazardous substances in your place of work.

Record what you have learned

  • Use the Learning Record Form to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have.

Preventing the spread of infection

It is very important that infections are not spread. What seems a minor illness (e.g. a slight cold) can prove fatal to frail and vulnerable people. With relatively simple precautions and care, these dangers can be significantly reduced.

Look at the following  resources:

Check your understanding

  • What types of infection might you expect to encounter in your job?
  • How do these infections normally enter the body?
  • How can we stop them?
  • When might you yourself pose a risk to the people in your care?

Did you know?

  • A close community like a care home is an ideal place for illness and infection to spread.

Record what you have learned

  • Use the Learning Record Form to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have.

Promoting fire safety in the work setting

A fire is a very serious event, whether in a care home or in a person’s own home. It is even more serious when those involved are frail or vulnerable and may be unable to help themselves. A care worker needs to know what to do to prevent fires occurring. Your employer must have a Fire Safety Order in place. You must also receive training, which will be updated regularly, about what to do in the case of a fire, and regular fire drills.

Look at the following  resources:

  • Your employer’s policy on fire safety. Make sure you understand it.
  • Gov.uk (the new place to find government services and information) has produced information on fire safety in the workplace. Look at, or print out their advice documents

Check your understanding

Answer these three questions. Check the answers with your supervisor or fire officer if you have one.

  • What three things are needed in order for a fire to burn?
  • What are three strategies for preventing fires?
  • What are the five major causes of fires?

Did you know?

  • Each year in the UK there are between 800 and 900 fires in premises providing care for older people. Over the past 10 years more than 45 people have died in such fires and more than 1,000 have been injured. On average five people die each year as a result of fire and a further 90 are injured.

Record what you have learned

  • Use the Learning Record Form to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have.

Security measures in the work setting

Security has a wide meaning. It covers keeping your place of work safe from intruders, protecting yourself and others from someone who has become violent, as well as looking after yourself if you have to work alone, especially in other people’s homes. Your employer should have policies covering these areas.

Look at the following resources:

Check your understanding

  • Make a list of all the situations in your job which could be a risk to your security. Consider ways of making each one of them more safe. Discuss with your supervisor.
  • If you work a lot on your own, make sure that you are aware of all the ways of keeping yourself safe.

Did you know?

  • You have a responsibility to keep yourself safe in the same way as your employer has a duty of care to you.

Record what you have learned

  • Use the Learning Record Form to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have.

Managing stress

Working with vulnerable people is stressful, so it is important that you know how to manage that stress. Otherwise you may become ill yourself, either physically, mentally, or both. Your employer has a duty in respect to your health. If you feel you are suffering stress, you must tell your supervisor. Stress from things happening outside work can also affect your work. You need to be aware of this and tell your employer if you are in a stressful situation.

Look at the following resources:

Check your understanding

  • Think about your last two weeks at work. Write down anything that has made you feel stressed. What have you done to resolve it? Discuss with your supervisor.
  • The NHS has produced a workplace stress self-assessment. Check yourself against it.

Did you know?

  • Along with moving- and handling-related issues, stress is one of the highest causes of sickness absence.

Record what you have learned

  • Use the Learning Record Form to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have.

Food safety, nutrition and hydration

Good food and hydration are essential to good health, even more so in the case of frail and vulnerable people. It is very important that those involved in the preparation, handling and serving of food keep to the strictest standards of hygiene. Food poisoning can be fatal.

Look at the following resources:

Check your understanding

  • Do the food hygiene quiz devised by the Food Safety Agency.
  • Think about the people you care for and support. Do any of them have problems eating and drinking? Discuss with your supervisor any ideas you might have to improve things.

Did you know? 

  • Between 19 and 30 per cent of all people admitted to hospitals, care homes or mental health units are at risk of malnutrition.

Record what you have learned

  • Use the Learning Record Form to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have.