HAZARDS in Health and Social Care

Unit 3 - Health, Safety & Security in Health and Social Care

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What is a HAZARD?

A hazard is a potential source of harm or adverse health effect.

A hazard can cause injury to an INDIVIDUAL and can create a barrier in a CARE ENVIRONMENT.

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Clostridium Difficile - a bacteria that can infect the bowel and can cause diarrhoea. Most commonly affects people who have recently been treated with antibiotics, but can spread easily to others. C.Difficle infections can usuallly be treated with another course of antibiotics.

Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) - MRSA is a type of bacteria that's resistant to several widely used antibiotics. This means infections with MRSA can be harder to treat than other bacterial infections. MRSA infections mainly affect poeple who are staying in hospital. They can be serious, but can usually be treated with antibiotics that work against MRSA.

Legionella Bacteria - the genus legionella is a pathogenic group of Gram-negative bacteria that includes the species L.pneumophilia, causing legionellosis including a pnuemonia-tpe illness called legionaires' disease and a mild flu-like illness called Ponliac fever. Legionella bacteria occurs when liquids accidently enter your lungs, that contain the bacteria. Legionella do not survive in temperatures above 60 degrees celsius and legionnaires disease can be cured by antiobiotics.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - The HSE is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. It prevents work - related death, injury and ill health. HSE is an executive non-department public body, sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions.

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Environmental Hazards

Such as crowded areas and wet floors that can cause trip hazards.

Examples from care settings:

  • worn vinyl flooring in the shower room in a hospital
  • a wet bathroom floor in a residential care home
  • frayed carpet in the hallway entrance of a children's centre

Impacts (in same order as examples):

  • could lead to someone slipping up and injuring themselves
  • wet floor could lead to injury by slipping or mould may grow causing illness
  • children may trip over and injure themselves
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Biological Hazards

Such as waste and body fluids that can cause the spread of infection and affec people's health.

Examples from care settings:

  • a used bandage being left on a bed in a clinic
  • soiled laundry left on the floor in a bathroom of a nursing home
  • vomit on the floor of a children's play area that has not been cleared up


  • could lead to the spead of diseases
  • shows a poor standard of care
  • children may slip on the vomit, and an illness may be spead
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Chemical Hazards

Such as cleaning agents and medication that can cause harm if not stored correctly.

Examples from care settings:

  • an unlocked medicine trolley on a hospital ward
  • an unlabelled cleaning fluid in the cupboard of an individual's home
  • hot cooking oil left unattended in the kitchen of an after-school club


  • someone could access these and take them leading to an overdose - this could lead to financial loss for the hospital if they're sued
  • the person may use it for the wrong thing leading to injury or harm such as poisoning
  • either an adult or a child could burn themselves from the hot oil
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Psychological Hazards

Such as stress and violence that can affect people's physical and emotional wellbeing.

Examples from care settings:

  • stress caused by people in a dentit's waiting room behaving in a challenging way
  • tiredness caused by a high workload due to staff absence in a supported living scheme
  • stress caused by children not wanting to participate in the activities that have been planned for them


  • could lead to a patient becoming upser and leaving which could cause the dentist to suffer financial loss
  • could lead to mistakes being made,for example an overprescription of drugs
  • could cause poor behaviour and stress to the person who planned the activities which could negatively impact their emotional wellbeing
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Working Conditions (Hazards)

Such as poor lighting and environments that are too hot or too cold that can cause harm and ill health.

Examples from care settings:

  • noise and disruption to the reception area of an opticians due to maintenance works
  •  a senior homecare worker that travels long distances in between individuals' homes
  • a child's bedroom that is very cold and has poor lighting


  • financial loss may occur as people may be put off going due to noise disruption during their appointments
  • this could lead to tiredness which in turn could lead to a poor standard of care du to mistakes being made
  • the cold could lead to illness or lack of sleep and poor lighting may lead to trips, slips and falls when dark
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Working Practices (Hazards)

That are unsafe such as a lack of fire training or a long wokring hour that can cause injuries, fatalities and illnesses.

Examples from care settings:

  • long working hours due to staff absence on a mental health community unit
  • lack of supervision for new volunteers working in a support group for adults who have dementia
  • lack of training for staff in a children's residential home on the procedures to follow when a faulty hoist is identified


  • tiredness could occur leading to mistakes and a poor standard of care
  • the volunteers may be unaware of how to handle someone with dementia properly and this could lead to injury or harm
  • could lead to a child being injured if dropped due to faulty hoist, and this may lead to financial loss due to the family of the child pressing legal charges
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Lack of Security Systems (Hazards)

Such as window locks and alarm systems that can cause security and fire risks.

Examples from care settings:

  • faulty smoke alarm systems in a clinic
  • a broken security chain on an individual's front door
  • lack of interlocking doors in a school


  • could lead to harm or even death is smoke alarms fail to go off in the events of a fire
  • could lead to injury or harm if someone tried to break in as they would be able to get in easier, could also lead to financial loss
  • may put children at risk of injury or harm as it would be easier for outside people/dangerous animals to get in
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