When we think of keeping people safe in hospitals, everyone’s first thought is usually the patients. What about the staff? Hospital employee safety is imperative so that the hospital is working as efficiently as possible. Here’s everything you need to know to keep your team safe.
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The first step you must take in order to keep your team safe is to carry out risk assessments of the potential hazards. According to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations, employers are required to assess and manage risk relating to chemicals, dust, microbiological and infectious hazards.
Once you’ve completed your risk assessments and identified all the dangers that your team may be exposed to, measures should be taken to reduce these hazards as much as possible. Where a significant risk is identified, the following steps have to be considered:
- General Ventilation
- Local Exhaust Ventilation
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
A great way of minimising the various risks is by teaching your employees of the various hazards and dangers they might face in the workplace and how to recognise them. They should also be trained on how to manage them.
Where appropriate, carry out regular health checks to ensure that any potential health effects are identified and dealt with as soon as possible.
Lifting, pushing, pulling and carrying are all included in the daily roles of many hospital workers. For example, a theatre porter will be pushing and transporting patients regularly. So, it’s important that they know how to perform them properly and safely.
There are three main points that you must consider when keeping your team safe from manual handling. These are:
- Load - It’s highly unlikely for every job they carry to be the same consistent weight as a lot of loads will include patients. So, you’ll have to take into account personal capabilities and assign more/different employees to specific patients. That way you avoid injury to both parties. Also, if the load is inanimate, encourage it to be divided into lighter, easier loads.
- Task - The moving of the load. It’s usually this stage in which the most injuries occur. Basic equipment like trolleys can be used to aid the employee but sometimes more specialist equipment is required. If no equipment at all is required, the basic lifting technique will help prevent injury.
- Surrounding Environment - Ensure that there is sufficient space around you before you start attempting to move a patient or a load. Do a quick 360-check and point out any obstacles on the way that could hinder your move.
When you think of hospital workers, you automatically think of doctors and nurses. But the receptionists and background admin staff have to be considered too. Working with computers and sitting at a desk all day come with their own strains on your health.
That’s why if you work in front of a computer or a monitor all day, you need to know how to adjust it accordingly to provide a comfortable way of working. Alongside this, it’s helpful to also encourage your staff to carry out a workstation assessment. In essence, it’s a similar process to the risk assessment but more tailored towards desk work.
A workstation assessment should look at:
- Posture - ensure your team are frequently stretching, changing posture and taking breaks to avoid injury.
- Supportive furniture. For example, are your team utilising the supportive backrest? Or do they need a footrest under their desk?
- Sitting technique - raise your seat to keep your forearms straight and shoulders relaxed.
- Are there obstacles under under or around the desk? If so, remove them as they can be a hazard.
- Can the screen be read properly? Is it a comfortable viewing distance away and are there problems with glare or reflections?
Hospitals need to be spotless 100 percent of the time. That’s why the management of disposable waste is so important for hospital employee safety. The safe disposal of waste is paramount in preventing infection for patients and staff.
Particular attention should be given to:
- Managing the waste and ensuring compliance.
- Types of waste and how it should be safely stored.
- Transportation of waste.
Managers should perform a further risk assessment if they have pregnant employees. The main two areas that a manager must consider are:
For pregnant women, you should reduce heavy physical activities and lifting. When pregnant, women are often fatigued which will obviously take its toll on the amount of physical work they can carry out so this must be taken into consideration to keep everybody involved safe.
There are no regulations in place to impose restrictions on what tasks a pregnant woman can and can’t do, so if she gives consent, she’s able to continue.
The intensity of any job isn’t beneficial for a pregnant woman, nevermind one in a busy hospital. In this case, working hours should be limited. Until heavily pregnant, a pregnant woman should have her hours limited to a maximum of 40. Working more can cause unnecessary stress that both mother and baby don’t need. Plus, it could risk something going wrong and somebody being hurt.
Now that you know the basics of how to keep your hospital staff safe, you’ll need to learn about the extra protection that is required in the summer months. Warmer temperatures come with their own hazards and risks. Don’t know what they are? Well, you needn’t worry. We’ve created a free guide that includes everything you’ll need to know to keep your staff as safe as possible this summer. Download it below.