Why bother with Health and Safety?
It’s not just about the people you care for
“It’s Health and Safety gone maaaaad!” Whether it’s a headline on the front page of your daily newspaper or being told you can’t do something “because of Health and Safety regulations”, we’ve pretty much all come into contact at some point with this widely castigated and regularly misunderstood system of checks and balances. However, when you think about it, it does make good sense to have procedures and regulations that ensure we have safe and healthy environments to work in.
In the Social Care industry, proper attention to Health and Safety should be close to, or actually, your number one priority. And not just for the people you care for; your safety is as important. In the course of your day you may have to deal with used needles, soiled bedclothes, food preparation, medication, cleaning materials… Not forgetting how many times you will have to help physically support and aid individuals, such as moving them from bed to chair, pushing wheelchairs, carrying personal belongings etc.
Here’s an interesting statistic from the Health and Safety Executive website:
Each year in the Health and Social Care sector around 5% of workers suffer from an illness they believe to be work-related and 2% of workers sustain a work-related injury. In 2015/16, an estimated 78,000 people reported workplace-related injuries ranging from slips, trips and falls (27%), lifting and handling (25%) and even physical assault (21%).
Having a good understanding of how to approach Health and Safety is vital to ensure that you, the people you care for, the environment you work in, do not pose any hazards.
The important thing to remember is that H&S comes in many sector-specific forms. Each industry has its own safety challenges and you must make sure that the training you receive is relevant to the position you hold.
We may mock and parody Health and Safety regulations (the story regarding protective glasses for children playing conkers comes to mind) but they are there for very good reasons. Your health, your safety, is important. Make sure you know what the risk factors are and how you can ensure safe practice.