Helpful tips for reducing the risk of injury at work
Home healthcare workers need to know how to reduce their risk of exposure and recognize potential hazards in the home.
Hygiene may be a source of concern for you in some client locations. These conditions can cause contamination of medical supplies and equipment, and can lead to the spread of disease and infection:
- Consider using clean pads with plastic on one side to place under equipment and supplies.
- Take in only the necessary equipment and supplies.
- Avoid setting objects on carpeted floor or upholstered furniture.
- Consider wearing disposable coveralls.
- Use non-latex disposable gloves and hand sanitizer.
Extreme Temperatures in the Home
Some clients' homes may be very hot or very cold. If this is the case, take the following steps:If the home is uncomfortably warm, ask for permission from the client to open the window and use fans. If you believe the client is at risk from the heat, ask your employer to contact social services agencies.
In some situations, you may be threatened, bitten or otherwise injured by unrestrained animals. When facing a threat from an animal:
- Wait outside until the pet is restrained.
- If you see fleas or other pests, discuss appropriate control measures with the client.
- If the client isn’t receptive to pest control measures, ask your employer to contact social services.
Slips, Trips and Falls
At patients’ homes, you do not have control of the walkways and may encounter wet floors, wet carpeting or icy pavement. To protect yourself from slips, trips and falls in a patient’s home:
- Wear sturdy, flat shoes with good slip protection.
- Walk slowly on icy or wet surfaces.
- Examine the patient’s walking paths to the bathrooms, eating areas and sitting areas.
- Use handrails.
- Turn on outside lights before returning to your car in the dark.
- Clean up spills as soon as they happen.