A health and safety policy for care homes must not only address the rights of staff to work in a healthy and safe workplace. The policy must also take account of the needs and freedoms of Service Users and their right to live in a place where they receive safe care. Essentially, health and safety is about the identification of risk and how this is managed, controlled and prevented.
All staff have a general duty under the HSWA to take reasonable care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by what they do or fail to do, and to cooperate with their employer.
The following provides a brief overview of what should be included in a health and safety policy:
The Legal Framework
The key legislation relating to health and safety is:
- Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
- Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR)
- Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009
- Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (amended 2002)
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER
- Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
- Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
- Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981
- Food Safety Act 1990, Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995 and Food Safety (Temperature Control) Regulations 1995
Management need to demonstrate a commitment to health and safety. The management of health and safety should become an integral part of the everyday running of your care home, and of the behaviours and attitudes displayed by all.
A Person Centred Approach
A person-centred approach will benefit Service Users. Staff should involve the Service User, family and professionals in decisions relating to health and safety. When considering the care needs of Service Users, their preferences for everyday activities that will benefit their lives, may also put them at some level of risk. This requires a balanced decision to be made between the needs, freedom and dignity of the individual and their safety.
According to the Health and Safety executive risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork, it’s about:
- Identifying the significant hazards;
- Deciding who might be harmed and how;
- Evaluating the risks and deciding on precautions;
- Recording your significant findings;
- Reviewing assessments and updating as necessary.
The content of your health and Safety Policy should include the aforementioned and the following:
- Moving & handling
- Slips and Falls
- Infection Control (Infection Control Policy)
- Hot water
- Violence and Aggression
- Work related stress
- New and expectant mothers
- First aid
- Lifting equipment
- General working environment
- General welfare
It may be that you have separate policies and procedures that address some of the content above but this should be referred to in your quality policy.
Bettal Quality Consultancy supplies a quality policy and other documentation that covers the above contents list.
Albert Cook BA, MA, FCQI Chartered Quality Institute
Health and Safety Executive: Health and Safety in Care Homes 2014
Social Care Institute for Excellence Key Legislation: Health and Safety legislation 2013
Care Quality commission 2009