Occupational health and safety
1. Alpha International Health Care Agency Occupational health and safety Policy.
The aim of Occupational health and safety Policy is to reduce the risk of injury and illness within workplaces in order to maintain the physical, social and mental well being of all workers.
AIHCA’s commitment to Occupational health and safety is derived from the strong belief that most accident/injuries are preventable and that individuals should not be subjected to any adversities, particularly at work.
We understand that although we do not control the work environment at times due to the nature of employment for our employees (e.g. Agency work in hospitals), we can as far as practicable provide the necessary education and training to work safely within the workplace. AIHCA, its employees and all Health Care Facilities must always work together in ensuring a safe work environment.
Preventative education in the form of identifying the hazards, assessing the risk and making the changes is one of the most important principles.
We believe that Health and Safety are integral for the efficient delivery of our services and that our employees are the most important part of Alpha International Health Care Agency.
2. Occupational health and safety Legislation The Occupational health and safety Act 2000 (OHS Act) together with the Occupational health and safety Regulations 2001 provide the governing legislative framework for Occupational health and safety in NSW. The underlying aims of these legislative powers are to:
Protect the general public from health and safety risks associated with individuals and/or activities at work Promote employee/employer consultation and cooperation on Occupational health and safety Issues
3. Employee – Duties of The duty of the employee in relation to Occupational Health and Safety is to take reasonable steps to protect themselves and others at work.
An employee is expected to:
Comply with instructions given by employers on Health and Safety, Use safety equipment properly Report any known or potential hazards
4. Employer – Duties of As far as practicable, the duty of the employer is to provide a safe working environment to employees.
Some of the roles of the employer are:
To provide education, training and supervision
To maintain safe workplaces
To consult and cooperate with Health Safety Professionals
To provide personal protective equipment
5. Manual handling and Back Injuries
Policy: Manual Handling is any activity requiring the use of force exerted by a person to lift, lower, push, pull, carry or otherwise move, hold or restrain a person, animal or thing’. The most frequent occurring preventable problem in the hospital setting is Back injuries and is often due to poor Manual Handling techniques.
Add manual handling link All staff employed by Alpha International Health Care Agency is required to complete an annual Manual Handling Course.
It is expected that the following principles are learned and applied from the course:
Risk identification, assessment and control of lifts
Plan for lift/transfer
Correct body and feet alignment
Need for assistance
Procedures: Register an interest to AIHCA for the Manual Handling at www.alphainternationalhealthcareagency.com.au. When available, have Nurse Management conduct a ‘Manual Handling/Back Care Assessment’ to assess level of competency.
6. MANAGEMENT OF AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIORS IN THE WORKPLACE
DEFINITION: Aggression in the workplace is expressed by people in the form of verbal, physical and/or psychological behaviors.
Aggression can come from work colleagues, students, relatives, patients, managers and/or the general public. ‘It includes such situations where workers and other people are threatened, attacked or physically assaulted at work’.
Some of the origins of aggression in the workplace are related to:
Cultural, political or religious indifference’s
Intimidation, used to prompt service
Previous negative experiences
POLICY: Alpha International Health Care Agency does not tolerate any aggressive behavior.
All AIHCA employees must be able to identify, assess, control and or eliminate workplace aggression.
AIHCA employees must be familiar with the relevant hospital procedures for identification, management and reporting of at risk aggressive patients prior to commencement of shift. Employees who believe they are subjected to workplace aggression are encouraged
to report such incidents to the Shift Coordinator and AIHCA. All complaints will be treated seriously and will be investigated promptly.
PROCEDURES: (The following must be noted by all AIHCA employees)
• Physical layout of work environment in relation to safety
• Availability of duress and alarm systems
• Emergency telephone numbers and codes
• Access to security and emergency services
• Patient history and potential for aggressive behavior
• Assess the situation
• Call for help by using duress alarm and/or contacting emergency telephone number
• Isolate area and prevent others from entering danger area
• Diffuse situation by avoiding confrontation
• Discuss alternative management measures with Shift Coordinator
• Handover information to emergency team (eg. police, security)
• Assist in restraint as a last measure if necessary
• Document all aggressive incidences on the Incident/Accident Report Forms and notify the Shift Coordinator and/or Occupational health and safety representative.
• Notify AIHCA immediately of any aggression in the workplace.
• Modify environment to avoid triggering factors
• Increase the number of alarms and cameras
• Review procedures in managing aggressive patients
• Provide regular training and information on potential aggressive situations
• Change work safety practices that were not effective during the event.
• Review access to emergency services.
Review and prevention of workplace aggression should focus on changes to the work environment and and/or changes to the systems of work to limit exposure to these behaviors. The act of Violence is the end product of a series of changes that the individual progresses through. Assertive, Passive Aggressive, Frustrated and Agitated people can be communicated with. Violent and in rage people require physical intervention.
All AIHCA employees must take every precaution in the workplace to protect themselves.
7. After Hours Escort – Completion of Work Shift
AIHCA employees who have completed a late shift change should be accompanied by a security officer to their transport.
All AIHCA employees must know the Security Officer contact numbers of each and every Health Care Facility they attend.
All environmental risk factors (eg. Staff Car Park Lighting) which affect safety must be documented on the Hazard Identification Forms (a copy of which is attached to this book) and brought to the attention of the Safety Representative of the Health Care Facility and that of AIHCA.
8. Fire Management
All fires present a clear and present danger to patients, staff and the public. It is expected that all AIHCA employees are aware of the Emergency and Fire Management procedures of all Health Care Facilities that they attend.
AIHCA employees must know:
1. Emergency contact numbers and procedures
2. Location of Extinguishers and Hoses
3. Identification of the Exit points within their work environment
4. Evacuation procedures and gathering points
5. Identification of the Shift Warden responsible for evacuations
Ideally, AIHCA employees, in consultation with the Shift Warden
1. Remove people from danger
2. Alert switchboard
3. Contain fire
4. Extinguish fire where safe
9. Sharps injury and body substance exposure
All sharps injury and body substance exposure must be reported to the Shift coordinator and Occupational health and safety Manager.
An Incident/Accident Report Form is required to be completed by the Shift coordinator and forwarded to AIHCA.
All employees must protect themselves and their colleagues by proper disposal of contaminated sharps such as needles into yellow sharp resistant containers. Needles are not to be recapped.
General Universal Precautions are to be used at all times. Hand washing must be routinely executed before and after contact with each patient. All skin tears/breaks are to be covered up at all times.
10. Working alone in safety All AIHCA Staff working alone must be trained and equipped to work safely in the hospital. It is expected that AIHCA staff working alone have clear lines of communication (i.e. phone, duress alarm) and are regularly checked in the case of emergencies.
• Assess the situation prior to working in the environment
• Identify the lines of communication made available (i.e. phone, duress alarm, additional work colleague next door).
• Ensure there is a procedure for regular inspection or contact of your premises (i.e. regular tea break or visit).
• Position yourself closest to the passage way
11. First aid in the workplace Policy: First aid is defined as the immediate treatment of a person who is injured or becomes ill. All AIHCA staff is entitled to first aid treatment in the workplace.
Procedure: In the event of an injury/illness because of the workplace, please notify the Shift coordinator and attend Emergency for treatment. Document on the ‘Incident/Accident Report
Forms’ and notify AIHCA Office Staff as soon as possible. You must do Basic life support training yearly or see our website for further education link CPR.
12. Personal protective equipment Policy: Personal Protective Equipment is readily made available in the Hospital setting. Where applicable, it is expected that all
AIHCA staff conform to the ‘suggested’ guidelines set out by the Hospital with regards to protective equipment. Hence, all staff must wear personal protective equipment to minimize incident/accidents in the workplace.
Procedure: Contact the Shift coordinator and/or OHS Representative for information and materials necessary when dealing with potential hazards. Universal precautions and use of all personal protective equipment provided by Health Cafe Facilities must be used when dealing with patients bodily fluids.
All AIHCA employees are instructed to always wear personal protective equipment if unsure in the management and treatment of their patients.
AIHCA and Health Care Facilities are to be informed immediately if protective equipment is not made available and no nursing action is to occur up until this has been satisfied or resolved. A ‘Hazard Reporting and Investigation Form’ must be completed.
13. Hazard Management, Report and Investigation Occupational health and safety hazards exist in the work environment, some are clearly visible but of more concern are the not so obvious ones. The hospital setting is not without these occupational hazards.
Some of the potential hazards that you should be aware of can be grouped together, as noted below:
• Physical (needle stick injury, back injuries, noise, vibration, lighting, electrical & fire)
• Chemical (gases, liquids, vapors)
• Radiation (x-rays)
• Psychological (harassment, personal threat, workload)
• Biological (bacteria, viruses)
• Ergonomics (work station design, lifting equipment)
It is a requirement that all AIHCA staff document and report any potential hazards or near misses to the appropriate Hospital personnel. Following identification of the (potential) hazard, assess the risk and make the safety changes in consultation with the Shift Coordinator and OHS Representative.
Clearly document on the ‘Hazard Report Form’ relevant information and pass on to the Shift coordinator and/or OHS Representative for follow-up. In the event that AIHCA staff returns to the same workplace after a period recheck to see that, the potential hazard has been isolated/eliminated.
14. Incident/Accident Management and Workers Compensation It is a requirement that AIHCA staff document all incidents/accidents on the ‘Incident/Accident Report Form’ and that the appropriate Hospital personnel are notified. Incidents/Accidents that necessitate time-off work and require workers compensation need to be documented on the ‘Workers Compensation Form’.
Notify the Shift Coordinator and/or OHS Representative of the incident/accident. Clearly document the incident/accident on the ‘Incident/Accident Report Form’. Send copy of ‘Incident/Accident Report Form’ to AIHCA within 24 hours of incident/accident.
In the case of time-off work as a result of the incident/accident, have the attending Medical Officer complete a ‘First Medical Certificate’. AIHCA will forward a ‘Workers Compensation Form’ immediately on notification of the incident/accident. Complete Workers Compensation Form and send the following complete information to AIHCA for processing:
• Hospital Incident/Accident Report Form
• Hospital First Medical Certificate
• AIHCA’s Workers Compensation Form
15. Rehabilitation It is the policy of AIHCA to support all injured or ill employees as a result of the work environment. This is based on the belief that all employees should be assisted to return to their pre-injury state or satisfactory alternate employment arranged. The rehabilitation process is important in assisting both employees and employers manage work related injury or disease within the workplace.
Notify AIHCA within 24 hours of the injury or illness and complete the following forms
• Hospital Incident/Accident Report Form
• Hospital First Medical Certificate
• AIHCA Workers Compensation Form
AIHCA will contact their insurer to arrange a Case Manager for the case. The Case Manager will get in contact with the treating doctor and injured worker. A specialist medical doctor may be referred to and a ‘return to work’ plan formulated in consultation with AIHCA and the injured worker.
If following exhaustive efforts to rehabilitate the employee is not achieved, the continuation of rehabilitation services will be reviewed by the case manager.
16. Occupational health and safety Committee The Occupational health and safety Committee functions to:
• facilitate consultation and cooperation between employer and employee
• keep abreast of standards relating to health and safety
• recommend to employers and employees the establishment, maintenance and monitoring programs/procedures at the workplace
• keep information readily accessible as it is provided
• consider and to make recommendations to the employer as the committee see fit in respect of OHS matters.
17. Occupational health and safety Representative All hazards should be reported to the health and safety Representatives in the hospitals. The health and safety Representative function to:
• inspect the workplace (immediately in an event of an accident or risk of imminent or serious injury)
• keep informed of the health and safety information provided by the employer
• report to the employer any hazard or potential hazard
• refer to the health and safety Committee any safety matters
• consult and cooperate on health and safety matters
• liaise with employees regarding health and safety in the workplace
18. Resolution of Occupational health and safety Issues Issues arising from the workplace with regards to Occupational health and safety will be managed in consultation with the employee, the Hospital Health and Safety Representative and AIHCA.
Where issues that are not resolved and represent in the opinion potential/imminent health hazards, Work cover NSW must be contacted. Clearly and concisely, document the issue concerned. Contact the Hospital Health and Safety Representative and AIHCA to arrange a meeting. Work towards consultation and cooperation in the meeting to resolve issues. An inspector from Work Cover NSW will either take action under the Act or determine that no action is necessary.
19. Cultural Awareness Information Alpha International Health Care Agency is a committed Equal Opportunity Employer and makes every effort not to discriminate on racial or other grounds. All employees must show sensitivity when dealing with others who may not have the same beliefs, cultures and religion. It is essential that respect and tolerance be shown for all people.
20. Confidentiality and Professionalism All employees are reminded of their obligations to patient confidentiality and the AIHCA confidentiality agreement that they have signed. Nurses must act in a professional manner at all times.