Safe Work Practices
Policies and Procedures
Employers should implement appropriate procedures and practices that Employees are required to adhere to in order to aim to prevent the risk of work related illness and injury.
Examples of appropriate procedures and practices include:
Wearing protective clothing
- Wearing gloves over clean hands when handling soiled clothes/linen and when cleaning bathroom or toilet area; to cover broken skin on hands etc;
- Wearing disposable gloves when dealing with bodily fluids;
- Gloves to be changed and hands washed between attending to different people or if the glove is punctured;
- Wearing non-slip shoes, especially when assisting a person in the shower.
Transfer and lifting techniques
- If the Employer require support to be lifted (as opposed to standing transfer, sliding transfer) a hoist must be used if the Employer weighs over 25 kg. Alternatively, two people should lift the Employer.
- Employees should have a thorough knowledge and understanding of how to use support equipment correctly.
- Employees should be offered safe lifting training if required.
Storage of chemical and toxic substances
- Employees should be told to always read the labels carefully when using chemicals for cleaning and adhere to the directions for use at all times.
- The Employer and/or person directing support should ensure all chemicals remain in the container purchased in so that all ingredients and warnings are listed in the case of accidental swallowing or contamination of the skin.
- The Poisons Information line should be easily found i.e. magnet on the fridge, inside a kitchen cupboard.
No smoking policy
- Employees should be informed that smoking is not permitted in the Employer's home, while driving the Employer anywhere and that it is not to be undertaken in the Employer's presence. Laws in Queensland include smoking bans for indoor and outdoor public places.
Minimal personal risk
- Employees should be informed of any potential risk of the Employer becoming abusive, violent or engaging in extremely difficult behaviour, and provide strategies to minimise onset of such behaviour. Employees should be provided with procedures to report, document what has happened in non-judgemental language and provide strategies or training if any incidents do occur.
- It is the responsibility of Employees to use any equipment appropriately and follow the instructions recommended.
- If Employees are required to administer tablets, written instructions / authorisation from a doctor should be followed at all times. Employees should be informed about procedures should any tablets be found to have been missed. It can be dangerous if an Employee attempts to give a tablet missed earlier in the day at a different time.
The following table provides examples of addressing risk assessment.
Stress as an occupational hazard - stress is a common workers compensation claim. It is important to think about the reasonableness of the tasks required of a worker in the time frame that they are engaged in.
Infectious diseases - it is just as important to safeguard yourself from infectious diseases that a worker may carry as for you to put protections in place for a worker.
Injuries to workers - it is important for Employees to know what is expected of them and what they should do if they are injured either in providing support or through an accident while on duty. You might need to consider how vulnerable you would be if a worker became incapacitated while working with you.
Fire Procedures - you might want to consider procedures for workers to follow and practice fire drills and to consider what you would do if a worker wasn't present.
Dispute Resolution - you may want to consider addressing work place health and safety issues with a worker and resolving issues prior to a regulator being appointed to manage the dispute.