Health and Safety: Managing the process

Management of the health and safety process involves setting a policy, creating a supportive organisational culture, developing and implementing a health and safety plan and evaluating the plan’s performance.

We have recently talked about what is required in a plan but evaluating the plan’s performance is just as important.  In order to take this further it is important that as a business owner you understand fully the benefits and issues relating to the process.

Advantages

Managing health and safety effectively not only ensures you meet legislative requirements but also;

  • decreases the risk of injury and ill health
  • reduces lost staff time
  • contributes to the well-being of the organisation and its workers
  • improves corporate image and averts negative PR (publicity)
  • contributes towards a programme of continuous improvement

Disadvantages

The benefits of managing the process far outweigh the disadvantages but managing health and safety properly does;

  • take up time
  • use resources that you may not feel you have
  • require constant review and updating

The key to success is developing an effective policy that minimises health and safety risks to employees and others.  The following steps help negate any disadvantages and ensures as a manager you are in control of the process.

1.Creating the right policy

Key actions at this point include;

  • undertaking a health and safety risk assessment to identify areas that need attention and monitoring
  • familiarising yourself and colleagues with relevant up to date legislation
  • giving the health and safety policy the same priority as your other organisational goals
  • allocating responsibilities for creating, reviewing and revising policy and procedures
  • resourcing health and safety adequately using a separate budget if appropriate (IE fire safety training or in-house first aid development)

2.Create a positive health and safety culture

Creating a culture that motivates and involves all members of your organisation is key to health and safety.  All employees need to think “safety first” and consider good working practices that include health and safety as a natural part of their working life.  As a manager it is your responsibility to build in that awareness to any programme or training.  Actions that aid the development of your health and safety culture include;

  • appointing health and safety representatives (champions) to raise the profile and add value to the project.  These individuals will help not only enhance your basic strategy but also drive the project forward
  • setting health and safety objectives and performance standards for all staff
  • providing adequate information on health and safety to all staff
  • keeping all documentation and available information up to date
  • involving employees and champions at all stages of the process – from planning through to implementation and then beyond into the monitoring and review process
  • rewarding employees for good health and safety practice
  • including health and safety as an agenda item at management meetings and internal team meetings.  (If they are aware that it is a continuous process and is a regular item on any agendas they will not only feel part of the process but also appreciate their need to take note).

3.Develop the plan

You need to:

  • produce a written plan for health and safety, co-ordinating and scheduling all health and safety activities in a single programme.
  • identify clear objectives and standards
  • set measurable targets at all levels
  • consider all personnel and all the processes in the business
  • review the plan and processes regularly.  Build this in to the plan at the beginning to save time later

What to consider for the plan:

  • accident prevention – consdering severe hazards such as chemicals and radiation as well as more common hazards such as heavy lifting, manual lifting and trailing electrical leads
  • health problems of employees – including drug addiction and alcoholism
  • emergency procedures – fire drills, equipment shutdown, security procedures and building evacuation
  • at risk identification – identifying and setting out separate procedures for those paticularly at risk – disabled workers, pregnant women and your employees
  • physical working conditions – covering areas such as stress reduction, shift working, rest breaks, identifying bullying in the workplace (and prevention)
  • good health promotion – exercise and healthy diet advice

If you are a sub-contractor you may also need to consider extending your arrangements to contractors as well as suppliers.  Any failings on their end may also impact your organisation.  To control this you might want to introduce a written policy that any third party needs to sign up to as well as put in place penalties for non-compliance.  Assuming that their health and safety is up to scratch isn’t the best way to minimise issues in your organisation so where you deal with third parties on site, make sure they are aware of the practices you have in place and assign representatives to ensure protocol is followed.

Wider consideration also needs to be taken to customers and visitors to your premises.  Adequate signage is sensible and where possible (if you are a larger organisation) introduce health and safety inductions.

4. Performance Monitoring

Once a plan has been implemented you need to evaluate its effectiveness.  Performance can be measure both proactively and reactively.  Proactive measures include;

  • inspecting workspace regularly
  • evaluating your training processes
  • discussing elements of safety with staff (as well as concerns)
  • reviewing relevant portions of minutes from management meetings and team briefings
  • auditing your processes to ensure the monitoring systems are in place and are efficient

Reactive measures can include;

  • checking damage to property
  • examinng data collected after incidents (accident books, sickness records, suggestion boxes)

5. Review performance

Evaluating performance of any plan enables you to ensure your policy and overall health and safety strategy is working as required.  By reviewing performance of the plan you are able to react to potential future threats and remove some of the risk that may be associated.  The evaluation process should include;

  • validating findings by talking to staff
  • comparing findings to objectives and legislative standards
  • giving feedback to staff
  • seeking commitment to improvements by “champions” and those they are responsible for
  • changing your policy and procedures to reflect any finding with a particular focus on any high-risk areas.

The monitoring and review sections of this step by step guide is a continuous process that should have annual reviews built in as part of an ongoing health and safety programme.  By doing so you minimise time spent on the processes and more importantly risk is reduced accordingly.  A plan that involves all staff is always more effective than one implemented by a single individual.  Spend time building this into any organisation strategy and the benefits will be a more efficient workplace with employees that feel valued and is more likely to be healthy.

Further resources:

TutorCare Health and Safety Training

http://www.tutorcare.co.uk/health-and-safety-training-courses

British Safety Council

www.britishsafetycouncil.co.uk

Health and Safety executive

www.hse.gov.uk

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

www.rospa.co.uk

*Article prepared using checklists from Bloomsbury Business Database (2002)

Training to become an activities coordinator in a care environment

Care workers with responsibility for a number of service users have generally undergone extensive training in areas such as medication dispensation, infection control and nutrition awareness. These and many other areas are all vital to keep residents or patients safe and healthy. However, just as important to quality of life for people in care environments is regular, stimulating activity.

Activities coordinators in care environments are often just as important as care workers and nurses, as they ensure that the people under their care develop and retain the skills they need to experience excellent quality of life.

By undergoing an activities coordinator training course, you will learn about:

• The role of the activities coordinator and its importance
• Ways in which service users and their families can help to plan and provide activities
• The importance of assessing the needs and abilities of service users before planning activities
• The different activities that can be planned for varying groups of service users

Our current course can be found here – Developing the Role of Activities Coordinator

This kind of care training course is not only intended for those who aim to take on an activities coordinator role; it can be useful for all staff working in care environments.

TutorCare offer a wide range of training courses specifically for the Care Sector.

Our Care Train the Trainer Course helps staff to deliver their own CQC courses and reduce future training overheads.

For more articles, more relevant to todays training please take some time to look at the following;

How to tell if someone is suffering from Dementia

Why do care workers need such good observational skills

The Role of Health and Social Care Workers

SB.02/17

 

Understanding Anaphylactic Shock can save lives in the work place

If you are the designated first aider in your workplace it is best to be prepared for every eventuality.  Whilst most accidents or illnesses at work or generally minor, some things like anaphylactic shock can be lethal.  Understanding this rare reaction to allergies can ultimately save a life.  In the workplace or at home knowing the causes, the symptoms and what to do can make all the difference.

What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a severe and extreme allergic reaction.  It is potentially life-threatening that can develop rapidly.  The whole body is affected, often within minutes of exposure to the substance which causes the allergic reaction.  However the effects can manifest themselves over several hours.

It is also known as anaphylactic shock.

What can cause anaphylaxis?

It is caused by a problem with the immune system which is the body’s natural defence against illness or infection.  In the case of anaphylaxis the immune system overreacts to what could be classed as a harmless substance and releases a number of chemicals, such as histamine to deal with the mistaken threat.

Triggers can come in a number of different guises although it is possible that no trigger is found and the cause remains unknown.  This is known as idiopathic anaphylaxis.

Common triggers include foods such as peanuts (more than half of food-related anaphylaxis are caused by peanuts), tree nuts (e.g. almonds, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts and hazelnuts), sesame, fish, shellfish, dairy products and eggs.  Some types of fruit – bananas, grapes, kiwi fruit and strawberries have also been known to cause anaphylactic shock.

Non-food causes include wasp or bee stings, natural latex (rubber), penicillin, general anaesthetic or any other drug or injection.  It is estimated that 1 in 100 people will experience an allergic reaction after a wasp or bee sting.  However of this group only a small number of people will then go on to experience severe anaphylaxis.

In some people even exercise can trigger a severe reaction — either on its own or in combination with other factors such as food or drugs (e.g. aspirin).

What are the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction?

  • generalised flushing of the skin
  • nettle rash anywhere on the body (hives)
  • sense of impending doom
  • abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting
  • sudden feeling of weakness (caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure)
  • swelling of throat and mouth
  • swollen eyes, lips, hands and feet
  • difficulty in swallowing or speaking
  • alterations in heart rate
  • severe asthma
  • wheezing
  • collapse and unconsciousness

It is important to note that a person would not necessarily experience all of these symptoms in the same episode.

 

What do you do if someone (or myself) shows signs of Anaphylaxis

Any severe reaction should be treated as potential Anaphylaxis and therefore a medical emergency.  Dial 999 and if available (and you have been trained in its use) administer a shot of adrenaline as soon as possible.

What is the treatment for a severe reaction?

Adrenaline auto-injectors are prescribed for those believed to be at risk. Adrenaline (also referred to as Epinephrine) works quickly to constrict blood vessels.  The injection then begins to relax the smooth muscles in the lungs whilst stimulating the heartbeat.  It also helps to stop swelling around the face and lips.

People with a history of anaphylaxis will have an auto-injector readily available.  The device is injected into their outer thigh and held in place for 10 seconds.  There are three different kinds of auto-injector. These are;

  1. Jext
  2. EpiPen
  3. Emerade

Each type is slightly different and if you are to administer one you should make sure you know how to use the auto-injector correctly.  The NHS offers a “trainer” kit to those at risk so that they can practice giving themselves or their child injections.

TutorCare offer a course on Anaphylaxis First Aid Training

The course is aimed at anyone who may need training relating the treatment of allergic reactions.  It is highly recommended that anyone working in the childcare sector take such a course but it is also suitable to those assigned as the designated workplace first aiders.  The course deals with the prevention, recognition of symptoms and the treatment of such reactions.  It also deals with the correct use of auto-injectors and CPR.

Who is at risk from anaphylaxis?

If a patient has suffered from a bad allergic reaction in the past, whatever the cause, then any future reaction is also likely to be as severe if not worse. If a significant reaction to a tiny dose does occur, or a reaction has occurred on contact with skin, this might also be a sign that a larger dose may trigger an extreme reaction. Those with asthma as well as allergies are recommended to be seen by an allergy specialist because asthma can mean they are more at risk. If you are concerned speak to a GP. Where there is a chance of an allergy being severe, the GP would normally refer the patient to an NHS allergy clinic.

For more information visit – http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Anaphylaxis/Pages/Introduction.aspx