Ageing, Disability & Home Care

Home and Community Care - Work safety
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WHS risk management process

Worker and client discuss risk

Work Health and Safety (WHS) risk management is a practical way of finding and fixing workplace health and safety problems before they cause harm. It is the key to preventing or minimising workplace illness and injury to support workers and others providing services in clients’ homes.

WHS risk management involves four steps:

  1. Risk identification – find the hazards
  2. Risk assessment – decide how serious the risks are from the hazard
  3. Risk control – eliminate or manage the risks
  4. Monitor and review – check to see the risk control has been effective and has not created new risks

Consultation and communication must occur with those exposed to any risks from the hazard and with the client and carer at all stages of the risk management process.

There are underlying principles which assist in the appropriate application of the WHS risk management process in the home and community care context.

WHS risk management must occur:

  • when making decisions about which services are to be provided;
  • before setting-up and using a client’s home as a workplace;
  • when planning the work and work processes to be done in the client’s home;
  • when selecting workers to provide the service;
  • whenever changes are made to the:

o  client’s home;
o   system or method of work;
o   equipment used;
o   chemicals used;
o   client’s physical capacity and/or behaviours;
o   support worker’s or volunteer’s circumstances;

  • when the work and work processes are reviewed

Effective WHS risk management can be achieved by thinking about health and safety at all stages of the referral and assessment pathway; that is, at referral, assessment, care planning, during service and at review of service.

In order to cover all potential risks, WHS risk management in the client’s home must be:

  • planned;
  • systematic;
  • timely; and
  • comprehensive

This section provides a range of strategies and tools for managing WHS risks when the client’s home is the workplace.

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