Inspection program looks at aggression in residential aged care
WorkSafe will soon begin a proactive inspection program to look at the management of violence and aggression in residential aged care facilities.
Beginning next month, the program will focus on reducing musculoskeletal and psychological injuries due to workplace violence. It will continue over the following six months in metropolitan and regional areas of the State.
WorkSafe A/Director Sally North said today inspectors would primarily look at how employers prevented and responded to aggressive incidents and injuries, and how they were dealt with on a long-term basis.
“Inspectors will proactively visit residential aged care facilities to assess the systems in place to prevent and manage incidents of violence and aggression,” Ms North said.
“Where workplaces are found to require improvement, inspectors will provide guidance and take further action if necessary.
“Earlier WorkSafe inspection programs in this area have highlighted to employers the need to implement proactive and long-term control strategies to address the risk of injury from violence and aggression.
“These control strategies can include altering job design, educating carers and clients, promoting incident response and investigation, and planning refurbishments or new builds to address client aggression risks.
“Over the past five years (2011-12 to 2015-16), violence and bullying accounted for nearly one third of all lost time injuries in WA residential aged care facilities.
“An alarming 93 percent of the injuries in this category were classified as being assaulted by a person, so this program is very important.”
While the most common injury to employees in residential aged care is soft tissue injury, the psychological impact of exposure to violence is harder to measure, especially where it is considered part of the job.
This program coincides with a WorkSafe Victoria public awareness campaign launched recently aimed at addressing the issue of occupational violence and aggression in the health care sector.
Further details on that campaign can be found at www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/itsneverok.
“WA is a keen participant in the national Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022, and the Health Care and Social Assistance sector is one of the key industries being targeted due to the high number of serious injuries resulting in 60 or more days off work,” Ms North said.
“This inspection program aims to ensure that employers have all the information they need to provide and maintain safe and healthy workplaces for their employees.”
Further information on the management of aggression in residential aged care facilities inspection program can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307877 or on the website at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au.
Media contact: Caroline De Vaney 6251 2363 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only)
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