Chapter 4: Better Safe than Sorry: Health and Safety

In a nutshell …

While it is sadly the case that some people go overboard on health and safety issues, it remains the case that these are important concerns that need to be taken very seriously. That is the case in any workplace, but especially when working with vulnerable people who may, in some ways, face more risks than others do. So, what are your responsibilities when it comes to health and safety? That is precisely what this chapter is all about. There are four aspects that we will be exploring:
The importance of health and safety
Legal and ethical responsibilities
Moving and handling
Getting it right
The basics
We begin by putting health and safety in context and considering why it is important both in general terms and specifically as they relate to your role as a personal assistant. 
You are not expected to be an expert in health and safety, and so you don’t need to know all the legal or technical details. However, you do need to know what your responsibilities are so that you are well placed to make sure that there are no unnecessary hazards. The next video is a good starting point: 


Video 4,1: The importance of health and safety

We are now going to look at the legal and ethical implications of health and safety and that's what the next video is about.


Video 4.2: Legal and ethical responsibilities 

Some personal assistants will be involved in having to physically move the person they support – for example, someone who is not able to get in and out of bed unaided. It is vitally important that such manoeuvres are carried out very carefully and in accordance with proper procedures to ensure that you do not injure yourself or the person you are supporting. Before undertaking this type of work you will need to have specialist training and obtain what is known as the 'All Wales Manual Handling Passport'. So please make sure you do not cause problems for yourself or the person you are supporting by carrying out lifting and handling tasks before you have had the appropriate training.
The following video is a really good starting point in learning what not to do when you are called upon to be involved in moving or lifting someone:


Video 4.3: Moving and handling: what not to do. 

Here is another helpful video when it comes to moving and handling: 


Video 4.4: Moving and assisting

In this final part of Chapter 4 we look at an overview of health and safety as it applies to you in your role as a personal assistant. This is to make sure that you feel comfortable and confident in contributing to a safe environment. 


Video 4.5: Getting it right

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