Healthcare workers and social care workers compose some of the most numerous in the workforce of the United Kingdom. They number to roughly 2.6 million individuals in the country’s workforce. While a lot of these individuals hold administrative positions, the rest of them give social and health care to families and people in hospitals, the community, and surgeries.
These healthcare workers – every day – come to encounter various people and situations. They may be in contact with a person with a contagious disease or they may – in the field – encounter situations that may endanger their safety and health. Whatever the situation these healthcare workers face, they have to arm themselves with the right tips and information to ensure that they remain safe and healthy during their working hours and beyond.
What are some situations these workers may face and what are some safety tips to help them do their jobs? Healthcare workers can – more than other workers – be victims of violence linked to work. With this in mind, employers have to assess violence risks.
Some measures to avoid workplace violence are: installing improvements to security in working environments, training staff in dealing with possibly violent situations and people, and adjusting the staff’s roles and responsibilities. Employees must keep a record of incidents of violence as they can assess any emerging patterns and take immediate measures.
Trips and slips can also be injurious to healthcare workers in the U.K. About 53 percent of injuries among NHS staff happen because of tripping and slipping. In the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers should implement controls that keep harm away from healthcare workers. Staff workers should also have a responsibility and they should use the safety equipment provided by the employers. Suppliers and makers of equipment must also make sure that their products are easy and safe to use.
A healthcare worker’s job is physical and the risk of experiencing musculoskeletal problems is high. With this in mind, employers must minimize employees’ activities related to manual handling. Employers should also assess and identify any manual handling activities that are unavoidable. These assessments should include tips on reducing injury risk. Other risk assessment types must consider healthcare hazards that may lead musculoskeletal diseases.
A small percentage of healthcare workers may also be subject to injuries linked to needle-sticks. While rare, a needle-stick injury may risk a healthcare worker to contract hepatitis B, hepatitis C, blood-borne viruses, or even HIV. A vaccine exists to protect against hepatitis B, but none exists for HIV or hepatitis C.
To avoid these injuries, it is recommended that: sharp containers should not be overly full, a sheath should not be put back on the needle, all cuts and skin abrasions must be covered or wrapped with plasters, visors and goggles must be used in situations when blood or fluids may splash onto the worker’s face, disposable gowns, gloves, and aprons must be worn, and hand must be washed after each encounter with the patient.
When a healthcare worker follows these tips and guidelines, he or she can be sure of adequate protection from situations that concern patients with contagious diseases or violence situations.