Guide

Health and safety in care service businesses

Avoid health and safety hazards in care service premises

If you provide care services to the young, the ill or the very old, you need to bear in mind that many hazards can present a greater risk of accident or ill health to people from these groups. Your risk assessments should consider the following topics.

Workplace hazards

Some common hazards to consider include:

  • room layout - avoid sharp edges, hidden steps and loose fittings that may cause trips
  • flooring - avoid uneven and slippery surfaces
  • stairs - consider whether hand rails or stairlifts can be fitted
  • door locks - you should prevent people being able to lock themselves in
  • water - ensure you have thermostatically controlled mixing valves for controlling hot water temperature and barriers to prevent people falling into pools and ponds
  • hot surfaces - ensure that radiators, hot water pipes or other space heating devices do not pose a risk to vulnerable people
  • legionella - ensure that water systems are maintained to reduce the risk of legionella bacteria
  • play equipment - check it is safely designed, complies with toy safety law and carries the CE mark, and is in good condition
  • fires - install early warning devices and put procedures in place to speed the evacuation of vulnerable people
  • security - monitor and control who enters and leaves your premises

Often the steps required to remove or reduce health and safety risks are very simple. For example, providing bath rails or anti-slip mats can significantly reduce the chances of accidents in the bath.

Ease of use

As well as minimising risks of accidents and injuries, it's also important to make your premises as user friendly as possible. Simple design changes can be very effective, such as:

  • making door handles easy to open
  • installing stairlifts for elderly clients
  • placing light switches at accessible heights
  • using rails near baths and toilets to aid balance

The earlier you think about these issues, the easier it will be to deal with them. Ease of use should be a priority in your purchasing decisions.