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Workplace Health and Safety in Aged Care

One of our most popular requests is for help with Workplace Health and Safety as it relates to the Aged Care industry.

Spare a thought for the care worker who injures themselves while trying to stop an elderly patient from falling. Or the nurse in the alzheimer unit who dislocates a knee after slipping on waste-matter recently left on the floor by one of the people under her care.

These are real risks faced by workers in aged care facilities every day. So what are the obligations of the care facility management and what laws cover safety of care professionals?

Knowing where to find the relevant legislation and understanding your responsibilites is a big head start.

Here are the main OHS responsibilities of an Aged Care operator.

  • The OHS Act in each State and Territory places what is called a general duty of care on any employer and their employees. Employers are responsible not only for the safety of their employees, but also for the safety of other people in the workplace. In an aged care facility, this would include residents, visitors, medical professionals, and contractors who spend time on the worksite.
  • OHS Regulations in each State and Territory set out requirements which must be met by those responsible for a workplace. Each legislation details emn emplyers duty if an employee is injured or becomes ill due to work. 
  • Codes of Practice provide practical guidance for the handling of isses. There is a varied number of codes of practice in each State and territory covering things like injury management, hazardous substances and manual handling.
  • Australian Standards provide direction about a range of OHS issues. These Standards must be followed if they are specified and referenced in the State Regulations.
  • Accreditation Standards expressly relate to OHS and require compliance with all relevant legislation. Service providers have obligations under the Aged Care Act 1997 as approved providers. Where they do not comply with teh accreditation Standards, sanctions can be applied by Commonwealth authroities.

Safety Concepts has consultants with expertise in Aged Care that work with management to ensure full compliance and a safe aged care workplace.

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

Comments (1)

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  1. Joanne Wallace says:

    Here is some more good info about this important subject. Its a little dated but still very usefull:
    http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/workplace/subjects/manualhandling/injury/index.htm

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