If you are responsible for managing health and safety within the care home environment, or the social care sector, you should be aware that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently updated its guidance document 'Health and Safety in Care Homes'.
What is it?
The guidance document is a fundamental publication for all businesses within the care sector and is packed full of helpful information and guidance for ensuring the provision of safe and high-quality care. The HSE have said that 'by following the 'guidance', businesses are normally doing enough to comply with the law'. The document is free and can be easily downloaded from the HSE's website.
Why is it helpful?
The guidance is a complete toolkit, intended to give businesses a better understanding of the real risks associated with providing care. It also contains advice on how these risks can be managed effectively within your business, therefore positively reducing the risk of serious accidents and the impact that these occurrences inevitably have on your business.
The publication includes guidance on:
- managing health and safety from the management team down, including how to provide the right tools and equipment in order to carry out tasks safely and how to ensure the systems set up are being implemented by those on the ground;
- RIDDOR, the type of incidents that need to be reported and keeping of records;
- all manner of working procedures affecting and involving employees, including the use of medicines, safe working equipment, electrical safety, lifting, moving and handling and training;
- the correct and safe use of bed rails and the risk of falls, how to control slips trips and falls on the level and from height;
- risks arising from work related violence and aggression, how to assist employees following an incident and how to tackle work related stress;
- specific hazardous substances, infections and diseases, managing legionella and hot surfaces;
- providing a safe working environment for employees, including risks associated with the work place environment and general staff welfare facilities; and
- the legal framework of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Future changes to the guidance?
At present, the HSE and local authorities enforce health and safety in the nursing and care home industry. However, it is anticipated that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England will soon become the lead investigator of incidents where residents have been harmed because of poor or unsafe quality care. This means the new guidance may well be updated again in future editions.
Care sector businesses should review their current health and safety compliance in light of the new guidance and assess whether their procedures can be strengthened. To access a free copy of the revised guidance please click on the following link: Health and safety in care homes.
If you have any issues regarding the implementation of the guidance please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the regulatory team.
This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.