As the number of people ageing or with a disability increases, so too does the trend for people requiring care to stay in their own homes rather than move into traditional residential aged care settings. Therefore there is also a greater demand for services to provide the community-based care, support, assistance or maintenance services they need.
The wide range of home support and community care providers, including nurses, carers, cleaners, housekeepers, property maintenance and pharmacy services, highlights the need for guidance in managing the varied work health and safety (WHS) issues that can arise when such services are provided within homes or community settings.
There is also the challenge of balancing the corresponding WHS responsibilities of persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs), workers, contractors and clients. For example, how do managers weigh up their duty-of-care to clients versus workers? Or, when services are contracted or brokered, who is actually responsible for ensuring a safe working environment?
The ultimate aim is to prevent injury or illness to people working in our community. The costs of injury are high, not only the personal suffering and loss, but also the disruption to clients and the organisation.
Our Community Workers – Work health and safety guidelines can help you as a PCBU, manager or co-ordinator to address WHS issues and manage hazards that you and your workers may face, such as hazardous manual tasks, vehicle and driver safety, infection control, isolated/remote work and challenging behaviours.
Section 3 of the guide, in particular, details how to go about setting up and reviewing systems for effective management and communication about WHS.
Case studies throughout illustrate safety solutions that have proven successful elsewhere.
A range of 14 checklists and example forms that can be adapted to your own workplace include a WHS action plan, a hazard report, and home visit security and vehicle inspection checklists.