Staying safe on the job is important, especially when caring for others who rely on your ability to help them. By identifying hazards and having a plan in place in the event of emergency, you’ll be prepared for any situations that may arise. Especially in home care where you aren’t always familiar with the surroundings, being aware and prepared is the key to staying safe. In preparing yourself to maintain a safe and healthy working environment, remember the following:
The first thing is to take responsibility for your own health and safety. Assess each situation and do not put yourself in any situation that could be dangerous for you. Always wear disposable gloves for personal care and cleaning. Follow any specific guidelines on how to stay safe when using appliances in the client’s home. Pay attention to instructions on opening and locking doors, and how to handle any potential hazards. In working with clients, ensuring that you don’t adversely affect the health of others surrounding you is also very important.
Entering a New Home
When you arrive at a home, be sure to park in a safe and well-lit area. Upon approaching the home, listen for any conflict in advance of entering, stand away from the door after knocking, and once inside respect your client’s living environment. Be prepared to recognize aggressive behaviour, and maintain patience and professionalism if something should arise, try to deescalate the situation in a calm manner and contact the office for further support.
Any time you are in a new setting, it is important to make yourself familiar with the space you’re in and identify any hazards that may be present. Know the area surrounding the location, and where local resources may be available. Depending on where you are, there may be any number of health risks present, ranging from chemicals used in the home to structural hazards, such as staircases or floors that may be particularly slippery. Know where the hazards are, how to avoid them and how to deal with them if necessary. Always travel with disposable gloves, safety equipment and a first aid kit.
Being prepared for what may happen can eliminate stress associated with unexpected issues, so just as you would in your own life, be prepared to handle any emergencies that may arise, either in a client’s home or while out in the community. Emergencies can include vehicle accidents, health issues, security breach, fires and more. When possible, eliminate hazards that may result in an emergency, such as identifying clear exit routes for you and the client, know where first aid supplies are located, and know who to contact in the event of an emergency. Expect the unexpected. Always contact the office if you are not sure what to do or need support in any emergency.
Dress appropriately and neatly, and consider how your clothing may affect your ability to do your job, and in the event that you need to exit a place in a hurry, how your clothing may prevent you from doing that. Consider wearing clothing that allows you to keep your personal items, such as car keys and mobile phone, on your person at all times during a service.
Most importantly, let the office and your team members know of your location at all times and keep them abreast of any changes to your schedule that may occur. HomeCare Australia cares about your well-being and will never knowingly send you into a potentially unsafe situation. If you recognise any hazards in relation to your work location, be sure to bring it to our attention of the office and we will advise you what to do.