Workplace health & safety practices for aged care

Written by noreen wainwright
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Workplace health & safety practices for aged care
Extra care needs to be taken for the safety of the elderly client group. (A Warning Sign for Elderly People. image by daseaford from

The nursing home care setting must have stringent health and safety policies, procedures, and practice. Elderly residents may be more prone to accidents and falls than other client groups. lt is also important to recognise that accidents and falls may have more serious consequences in the elderly client. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is the body that has overall responsibility for ensuring workplace safety.

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The elderly care setting must have a set of health and safety policies. These should relate to issues such as: bathing, administration of medication, and safe use of mobilisation equipment. In addition to this, risk assessments should be in place for all residents. These should include: mobility, pressure area care and nutrition. Staff should be aware of the policies and safe practices and they should receive appropriate training in fire procedures and safe moving and handling.

Risk assessments should be in place.
Risk assessments should be in place. (elderly man in black and white image by Pierrette Guertin from

Particular Risks

Though many elderly people are healthy and fit, the aged care workplace will have to deal with particular risk factors. Some elderly people are frail and have mobility problems. This increases the risk of falls. In elderly people with osteoporosis (brittle bones), the chances of fractures are higher. Some older people have sensory impairment, and this may increase risk, perhaps in misjudging distances and not seeing obstacles. An absence of clutter is essential in elderly care settings.

Reporting and Recording

It is essential that all accidents and changes in the condition of residents, are appropriately reported and recorded. These records are important, if later litigation occurs. Records of accidents can also form a useful basis for analysing patterns of accidents. An example of this would be finding that more accidents happen at a particular time of day. All staff should receive training on recording and reporting.

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