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Healthcare and social assistance workers play an important role in assisting others. Workers may be exposed to a range of hazards depending on the services provided, the location of the workplace and the clients being cared for. Healthcare and social assistance workers may work in designated facilities such as healthcare and residential facilities (such as hospitals, outpatient clinics and aged care homes) or in people’s homes (such as aged care and disability assistance in homes).
Various manual tasks performed in the health and social assistance settings can lead to injury. However, they are predominantly due to people handling.
Hazardous manual tasks are the primary cause of injury in the healthcare and social assistance sector, with occupations such as nurses and carers being at greatest risk. Moving and handling is a key part of the working day for most employees; from moving equipment, laundry, catering, supplies or waste to assisting residents in moving. Workplaces include various hospital departments (eg patient rooms, surgery, catering, outpatient clinics, radiology and rehabilitation), residential care facilities (aged care homes), and community clinics (eg GP clinics, mental health clinics, pathology and allied health clinics).
Manual tasks injury risks exist in all healthcare and residential care settings and can come from a variety of different sources including:
Further information about people handling particularly in relation to client assessment (care plans, mobility assessments), equipment, facility design, work organisation and bariatric issues can be found in the people handling section.
Providing health care and social assistance can take place in people’s homes, such as healthcare home visits, aged care and disability assistance and the wider community such as child care facilities.
This sort of work frequently includes manual tasks which also involves the handling of people in their homes. Refer to the people handling section for further information about this hazardous manual task. Examples of common manual tasks include: assisting with transferring, bathing and dressing clients; pushing wheelchairs; loading and unloading from vehicles; moving furniture; gardening and maintenance tasks; and cleaning and other domestic tasks.
The main causes of injuries and illnesses for those working in people’s homes and the community are lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling; slips, trips and falls; and occupational violence. The workplaces for this industry includes private homes (e.g. a house, unit or caravan, residential care homes, other community settings.
Manual tasks injury risks exist when caring for people in their homes and in the community, and can come from a variety of different sources including:
Further information about people handling particularly in relation to client assessment, equipment, facility design, work organisation and bariatric issues can be found in the people handling section.
The following information has been developed to assist community service providers, workers and people receiving services to make workplaces safer.
The interactive checklists below should be used in conjunction with the Guide to working safely in people's homes. The checklists are not exhaustive, and you may wish to use items according to your own circumstances. The checklists should be completed in consultation with the workers involved.