Why do in-home care workers not report hazards and what we can do about it?

Mrs Aideen Gallagher1, Mrs Emma Small1

1Risk Managed

Abstract:

In home care providers assist people with the tasks of daily living they are unable to do for themselves.  These are usually very private and necessary activities of daily living including getting out bed, having a shower, going to the toilet and getting dressed.

The provision of personal care services is a risky business with high rates of injuries amongst workers.  29% of all injuries in the workplace are a result of musculo-skeletal injuries.  These can also affect clients as moving incorrectly can contribute to pressure injuries, pain and discomfort.  These injuries not only affect workers and consumers, but damage the financial viability and brand of a business.

A key component in addressing these risks, is knowing what they are.  Once the risk is known, it can then be assessed and subsequently controlled.  This demands the workers on the ground to report these risks however, there is a significant underreporting of hazards from workers in the home environment.  This is despite the known high-risk environment and complexity of the tasks these workers do everyday.

This paper will present the research literature to understand why in-home care workers don’t report hazards.  It will explain the social and emotional elements at play within this environment.  It will outline what a provide can do to encourage these workers to report.  Delegates will leave the workshop with tips on how to enhance their hazard reporting system within their business.

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