The main focus on this report, is discussing as well as evaluating the principles of safe practice and the importance of the legislations. In this report, my main focus is to understand the effectiveness of the different legislations and to what extent these legislations are useful to ensure safe practice in health and social care.
Learning aim C: INVESTIGATE THE INFLUENCE OF HEALTH AND SAFETY LEGISLATIONS AND POLICIES IN HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE SETTINGS
7/C.P6- compare the influence of different health and safety laws or policies on health and social care practice in a selected setting
Safe practice is very important to the promotion of dignity in care. There are a number of legislative measures and regulations to support health and safety at work. These are intended to protect people in work, those using services and the wider public. It is inevitable that workers in a health and social care environment are aware of these legislations. If not, this puts the life of the service users as well as themselves, at great danger. The Care Quality Commision (CQC)– which is a public body, requires that health and safety training should be part of the health care professional’s induction to the care workplace.
The key health and safety laws and policies include: Health and Safety at Work etc Act HASAWA (1998), Data Protection Act (1998), The Care Act (2014), The Manual Handling Operations Regulation 1992, The Food Hygiene regulation (2006), Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (2002) and Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013.
The health and safety at work act is a legislation that is targeted at the decreasing risk to employees, visitors and volunteers to a workplace. This legislation is applicable to all working organisations and the policies differ according to the need of the organisations.
Another important legislation that is to be followed is the Data Protection Act (1998). This legislation is very important for the confidentiality of the service users. The trust in a relationship between a service user and their care is essential so that the service user doesn’t feel at ease to be able to confide with the healthcare professionals if there are any situations that may occur. However, it is very important that the service users are aware of there being a limit on confidentiality.
The Care Act (2014) is one legislation that takes the place of many other legislations. The function of this act is to put the service users at the centre of care while integrating the needs of care in order for support to be in place before service users’ situations is in crisis1. Previous legislations such as, the carers legislation or the health services and public health act of 1968 all now are consolidated in this one act.
Another key legislation is, The Manual Handling Operations Regulation 1992 – which was amended in 2002. This guidance aims to help employers comply with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002. It will help employers – and managers, safety representatives and employees – to control and reduce the risk of injury from manual handling. The MHOR 1992 set out a clear ranking of measures for dealing with risks from manual handling, these are:
- first: avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far as is reasonably practicable;
- second: assess any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided; and
- third: reduce the risk of injury so far as is reasonably practicable.
The Food Hygiene regulation (2006) applies if you are preparing food for a service user. If the service user is preparing food for their own consumption, this is considered a ‘domestic arrangement’. The Food Hygiene Regulations (2006) place an obligation on all food businesses to ensure that their preparation methods are carried out in a hygienic way. The Food Hygiene Regulations was amended in 2013 where this amended regulation is said to strengthens food safety regulatory system in our country. The law provides protection to consumers so they will have access to local foods and food products that have undergone thorough and rigid inspection.
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 COSHH is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health and includes nanomaterials. You can prevent or reduce workers’ exposure to hazardous substances by: finding out what the health hazards are; deciding how to prevent harm to health (risk assessment); providing control measures to reduce harm to health; making sure they are used; keeping all control measures in good working order; providing information, instruction and training for employees and others; providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases; planning for emergencies.
Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013 (RIDDOR) puts duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises (the Responsible Person) to report certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses).
The type of injuries/dangerous occurrences that should be reported are: Reportable injures, all deaths that arise from a work activity or are connected with work – whether or not they involve someone who’s actually at work – must be reported, specified injuries, over seven-day injuries, over three-day incapacitation, non-fatal accidents to non-workers and occupational diseases.
In reference to my case study, Wellings NHS Trust, Ward 3B- the two key legislations that apply to this case study would be RIDDOR (2013) and the care act (2014). The Care Act (2014) influences health and social care practice in this setting as they include ethical guidelines that the workers are to abide by. Care workers are to follow the safeguarding policies when responding to issues like abuse for instance in the establishment. According to Billingham et al2 ‘these policies vary depending on the type of institution but all are covered by the Care Act 2014’. Data sharing is covered by this legislation act. Data sharing improves the quality of care for the service users and the health and safety of the health and safety of health care professionals whether it’s in the care provided as a legal requirement by the NHS, social care services, education and early services, voluntary care or private care provision. The care act ensures to the care workers of their safeguarding duties to better the quality of care. The care act also ensures that the service users are the top priorities in the organisation
The ‘Reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulation’ also has a big influence on health and social care in this setting. This is because, similarly to the care act, RIDDOR is a legislation that enables the workers in the environment to better their quality of care towards the service users. Both legislations ensure that the service users are put at the centre of care. Recognising the needs of the carer for training and support is essential to promoting the health and safety of the service user. However, a difference between the care act and RIDDOR is that unlike the care act, RIDDOR is one single legislation where the responsible person in the organisation must inform the enforcing authority about accidents resulting in death, injuries to workers, hospital treatment and other dangerous occurrences or situations. In this case study, the responsible person is supposed to be the nurse. ‘the nurse on duty, noticed that it (Lizzy’s hand) was swollen and discoloured’. Here, is evidence of there the RIDDOR legislation should come into place. However, the fact that the nurse didn’t take any record of the bruises on Lizzy’s arm this means that the service user’s situation will not be going into investigation and increases the chances of this type of incident to happen again- which as a matter of fact, did happen again as Lizzy the following day complained of the pain in her hand. This is clear evidence of the importance of recording every slightest and unusual type of things which can vary from as little as scars and bruises to near death experiences.
7/C.M3– analyse how health and safety legislations or policies influence safe practice in a selected health or social care setting.
Health and safety legislations has a huge influence for enabling safe practice in health or social care settings. These policies are essential in providing clarity in regards to complications which are critical to health and safety liabilities. According to policy medical3 , policies in healthcare is vitally important as it sets a general plan of action to guide desired outcomes and is a fundamental guideline to help make decisions. The purpose of healthcare policies and procedures is to communicate to employees the desired outcomes of the organisation. They help employees to understand their roles and responsibilities within the organisation. In the healthcare environment specifically, policy should set the foundation for the delivery of safe and cost-effective quality care.
With reference to my selected case study, Wellings NHS Trust, Ward 3B, health and safety legislations are vital. With regards to my case study, the RIDDOR policy (Reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulation) is highly influential for maintaining safe practice in the setting. This is because, the purpose of this policy is so that there is clear evidence of incidents that occur and the information enables the authority to identify where and how risks arise and whether they need to be investigated. For instance, in the case study, as soon as Lizzy made a complaint about the pain in her arm, the minute that the nurse saw that there was bruising in the service users’ arm, the RIDDOR policy should have been applied here as soon as possible. The nurse should have taken record of it and reported it to the enforcing authority so that the issue can go into investigation to find out how the bruising happened and to help the service user to prevent it from occurring again. However, the nurse in the case study did not meet the purpose of the RIDDOR policy as she failed to take record of the injury that she witnessed. This gives an opportunity of the issue that caused the bruising to happen again as there is not investigation being put on Lizzy- the service user. This is also putting the service user’s health at risk.