For workers in acute care, long-term care, home care, and community services sectors, workplace safety challenges are diverse. They range from driving dangers when visiting clients, to slips, trips, and falls, to ergonomic challenges when lifting and transferring clients, to needle sticks and other biological hazards.
With approximately 44,000 employees, the sectors combined are Nova Scotia’s largest industry group. But the challenges care workers face are complex, and they are more likely to be injured on the job than any other industry, with three out of 10 time-loss claims originating in these sectors.
Looking closer within the health and community services sectors, long-term care and home care workers are experiencing higher levels of injury. Workers in these fields make up 30 per cent of the sectors overall, but account for 60 per cent of time loss claims.
Due to the size of these sectors, a high rate of work-related injuries and illnesses could be prevented. There is also increased risk and impact on quality of care outcomes if nothing is done. Led by AWARE –NS, stakeholders have come together to develop a five-year action plan, the Workplace Safety Action Plan for Nova Scotia’s Health and Community Services Sectors. The Action Plan will focus on improving occupational health and safety outcomes, specifically for long-term care, home care, and community services.
Knowing that a strong, safe, and healthy workforce is an organization’s most valuable resource, employers need workplace health and safety programs that do everything possible to prevent workplace injury. And if an injury does occur, to return injured workers to work in a safe and timely manner.
AWARE-NS offers a number of resources, education tools, and information to help reduce the impact of injury.
PACE Yourself - A health care worker's guide for assistance
PACE Yourself Pictogram - A poster for workplaces
P- Physical - Slings - Sling selection and integrity checklist
P- Physical - Transfers - An assessment based on mobility
P- Physical - Repositioning - A guide for bed repositioning
A - Agitation - Safe handling guide for agitated or aggressive behaviour
C - Communication - Safe handling guide for better communication
E - Environment - Conduct an environmental scan to identify hazards and evaluate risk
Point of Care Assessment Tools: