Working in the aged care industry can be a rewarding and satisfying career choice, but it’s not without its hazards. And if your business is in the aged care industry or you have contractors working on site at aged care facilities, it’s important that you’re aware of those hazards and take extra precautions to protect your workers.
Here are the top three hazards in aged care and how you can avoid them and keep your workers safe:
Part of the job description for an aged care worker involves transporting patients. Workers have to lift patients out of bed, transfer them to and from wheelchairs, push them on trolleys, and sometimes carry them for extended distances. All of that manual labor can take a toll on a worker’s body.
Bodily injuries, such as back and neck injuries, are common with aged care workers and can lead to chronic pain and other issues.
In order to avoid this hazard, you should always make sure to have enough staff on hand to handle transporting patients. These injuries often occur because there’s not enough to people to safely and effectively transport a patient, whether the worker is transporting too many patients per day or they’re transporting patients on their own that are too heavy for their bodies to handle. By appropriately staffing the facility, you can ensure there are multiple workers to handle transport, lifting the burden off of any one worker and lowering the risk of injury.
Another hazard you need to be aware of is the condition of the aged care facility. Injuries often occur as a result of unsafe working conditions. Things like slips on wet surfaces (especially common in the kitchen), exposure to hazardous substances, or subpar cleaning procedures (which can cause illness) can all lead to workplace injury.
If you want to keep your workplace safe and free of environmental injuries, you need to have strict safety protocols that are reviewed on a regular basis. Have your team walk through the facility each day to make sure the safety protocol is being followed – and to catch any potential dangers before they get out of hand and injure a worker.
Another potential hazard for workers in an aged care facility is workplace violence. Working with the elderly presents a certain set of challenges; often, mental health issues, physical issues, or dementia can cause patients to behave erratically – or even violently.
Workplace violence is a real threat for aged care workers. While it’s impossible to predict the behaviour of patients, in order to minimize the risk of violence and injury, workers should be properly trained on how to de-escalate potentially violent situations and how to protect themselves and the patient in the event that violence does occur. All workers should also know the proper channels to report any violent incidents in the workplace so you can determine the best course of action.
There are definitely hazards that exist within the aged care industry, but with the right precautions, you can protect yourself and your workers and ensure a positive working experience that’s free of hazards.