Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls (Basic Awareness Level 1) Staff information leaflet. RDaSH. Corporate Services

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1 Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls (Basic Awareness Level 1) Staff information leaflet RDaSH Corporate Services

2 Staff Safety in the Workplace: Did you know? Slips and trips are the biggest cause of serious injuries to health care workers. Slips and trips can happen anywhere. Many result in broken bones or worse. Everyone is at risk but you are at greater risk if you are a care assistant, nurse, housekeeper, caretaker, or cleaner. Most accidents to patients and visitors are due to slips or trips - 50% of all reported accidents to members of the public, that happen in workplaces, are falls related. You have a legal duty to look after yourself and your colleagues at work. All staff have a responsibility to prevent falls and other accidents Slips and trips are often seen as a joke, but they are no laughing matter and occur too frequently. (Unison Health / Safety Information Sheet 2010) Falls are the most common cause of injuries at work causing over a third of all reported major injuries. Cost to employers - in lost production and other costs estimated to be 512 million per year. Cost to health service in post falls health care and follow up are high. Incalculable human cost -including anxiety, pain, distress and loss of independence. (Health and Safety Executive 2011) Many slips, trips and falls are avoidable, and falls prevention continues to be a top priority throughout the NHS. This leaflet contains some useful falls prevention information and guidance about the Trust s falls prevention work, policies, health and safety procedures and resources. Slips, Trips and Falls Involving Staff: What are the risks, what can be done? Falls: Environmental Risk Factors: Spillages and wet floors: Slips rarely happen on clean, dry floors. Ensure any spillages are dealt with immediately, close off wet areas until they are dry. 2 Preventing, slips, trips and falls

3 Contamination: Contaminants like water, bodily fluids, cooking oil, talcum powder, dust and disposable gloves can reduce the slip resistance of a floor making a slip accident more likely. Have procedures in place to deal with contaminants quickly, and note that an incomplete cleaning process may leave a floor slippery after cleaning so be sure to use the correct systems and equipment for floor cleaning / mopping. If you are unsure about these or require further training please inform your manager. Trailing cables and trip hazards: e.g. bags, boxes, deliveries. People trip over unexpected obstacles and items. Place equipment to avoid cables crossing pedestrian routes or thorough fares, use cable guards to cover cables where required. Store items appropriately, be vigilant to anything at lower levels and floor level that may cause an accident and remove it. Change of surface from wet to dry: e.g. outdoors to indoors. Warn of risks by using signs, and locate doormats where these changes are likely. Close off wet areas until they are dry, seek further advice and report concerns or recurrent problems. sensors then ensure this is adjusted properly and appropriate to the setting vulnerable patients and visitors must not be put at risk of being left in the dark or in poorly lit areas inappropriately. External environments: Be aware of any seasonal problems, such as wet leaves, darkness in the winter, paths in winter with ice and snow especially areas that may not be gritted. Alert colleagues, patients and visitors to any hazardous conditions and report your concerns. Poorly organised and cluttered working or clinical areas: De-clutter regularly and follow an everything in its place regime. Move and handle loads correctly if in doubt seek advice. Working at a height: Take extra care on steps, stairs and landings. Handrails and banisters should be adequate and secure. Ensure any step ladders or climbing apparatus is fit for purpose, meets with regulations, and is only used as designated (this also applies to contractors - see safe working at a height policy and regulations). Inadequate or unsuitable lighting: Report any problems immediately, ensure corridors and communal areas are adequately lit. If lighting is operated by timers or occupancy 3

4 Falls and Human Risk Factors: These can increase the risk of accidents / falls, including: Communication problems and misunderstandings: Do you always understand and follow safety instructions, signs, labels and directions? Fatigue: Tiredness can affect the ability to carry out a task. Staff who are tired are more prone to make mistakes, lose concentration, misjudge situations and take unnecessary risks. Personality, attitude, behaviour: Whilst individuals may have different personal attitudes and approaches to risk and safety, in the workplace it is everyone s responsibility to understand the requirements of their role and obligations that go along with this. Capability and Capacity: Staff must discuss with their manager any outstanding training needs, capability or capacity issues. Physical health: Illness, mobility problems, breathing problems, balance problems, visual problems, side effects or effects of medication e.g. dizziness, blood pressure drop, alcohol use. All these and more increase falls risk discuss any personal concerns about fitness at work with your manager or GP. What about Footwear? Footwear plays an important part in preventing slips, especially where floors can t easily be kept dry or clean. Staff working in certain areas (e.g. kitchens, laundry, workshops, clinical areas) or whose duties involve moving and handling, use of equipment, physical tasks or delivery of physical care must wear suitable footwear and adhere to any dress and footwear policy in their area. Footwear - general advice for all staff: Choose shoes that fit well are comfortable, have sensible heels and stay on the feet. Certain footwear, such as open-toed shoes, sandals, flipflops, high heels and smooth soles can all increase the chance of slips, trips and falls. Falls / Accident Prevention: Put it On the agenda! Environmental and human factors are not always controllable, but may be predictable. Evidence shows that staff teams who discuss safety risks and work towards resolving problems together have fewer accidents. Team meetings and supervision sessions provide good opportunities for managers and staff to discuss issues and ways to reduce falls and other accidents in the workplace. 4 Preventing, slips, trips and falls

5 Preventing Slips Trips and Falls: Patient/ Service User Safety Falls prevention is a key area with regards patient safety and the quality of care delivered. (Dept of Health 2011) In England and Wales approximately: 208,000 falls are reported every year in acute hospitals Mental Health Trusts reported over 36,000 Community Hospitals reported 38,000 (NPSA 2011) Causes of falls are complex, but the outcome can be devastating, resulting in: Death, severe or moderate injury Up to 90% of older patients with a fractured hip fail to recover their previous level of mobility or independence and mortality rates are high. Incalculable human cost -including anxiety, pain, distress, loss of independence, loss of confidence, loss of quality of life Healthcare costs 15 million per annum for acute treatment alone. This is believed to be an underestimation and does not include rehabilitation and social care costs. (NPSA 2007; 2009) Falls prevention work within RDaSH The Falls Prevention and Bone Health Strategic Steering Group: This group meets quarterly. Its purpose is to implement and monitor a strategic approach and action plans for falls prevention. Its priorities are based on national falls prevention guidance and directives. The Falls Prevention and Bone Health Policy: This policy provides the ways and the means for staff to carry out falls prevention work and to maintain safe environments. It covers all areas but focuses more on the needs of those who are higher risk of falls, it covers: Prevention, risk assessment and management of slips, trips and falls, involving all staff, patients/ service users, services, and premises. It sets out standards and procedures, and includes useful resources e.g. falls risk screening tools. 5

6 Post fall procedures and management including emergency procedures and protocols. Environmental issues and safety. The falls Policy can be accessed via the Intranet and the following link: Safe working at height: Extra caution must be taken by staff and service users to prevent falls from height. RDaSH staff and contractors working at height should follow the Trust Safe Working at Height Policy ; This can be accessed via the Intranet and the following link: uploads/2009/11/working-at-heightspolicy-pag-approved pdf Falls Prevention and Bone Health Pages on the Intranet: Find out much more about falls prevention work and resources in the Trust on the Falls and Bone Health section of the intranet. Falls Prevention and Bone Health Training: All staff need awareness and understanding of falls risk factors and of falls prevention. This leaflet provides this awareness level information, alongside workplace induction. Most clinical and facilities staff also require further training or information and individual requirements should be discussed with managers. Further details of falls prevention training are available via the RED centre/ via Falls section on Intranet, or contact the falls prevention leads / health and safety leads in your area. Reporting: The Trust aims to promote a positive health and safety culture and learning environment in order to continuously improve services, staff are asked to report any hazards, incidents or concerns and to be involved in the review of incidents. Staff are expected to participate in the identification of environmental and clinical slips, trips and falls hazards. This can be accessed via the Intranet and the following link support-services/falls-prevention-andbone-health/ 6 Preventing, slips, trips and falls

7 Report any incidents and/ or concerns, seek advice as required and implement polices and agreed measures to manage risks The Incident Reporting policy can be accessed via the Intranet and the following link: uploads/2009/11/incident-reporting- Policy-approved-RMG V6. pdf Falls Prevention/ Health and Safety contact details Liz Copley Consultant Occupational Therapist/ Joint Clinical Lead for Falls Prevention Kay O Neill Clinical Lead Physiotherapy - Learning Disabilities kay.o Steven Hague Community Falls Coordinator (DCIS) Alan Irwin Health & Safety Lead Michael Ibemesi Trust Patient Safety Lead Any training enquiries please contact the RED Centre on

8 This information is correct at the time of publishing Last Reviewed: August 2012 WZT743/DP7001/9183/08.12

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