Slips, Trips and Falls
This home recognises slips, trips and falls to refer to any accidental slip, trip or fall which may have the potential for injury or harm to a member of staff, to a service user or to visitors and contractors. The home understands that such falls represent one of the most common causes of workplace injury in the UK. The home also understands that such accidents may be especially dangerous for elderly or frail service users who may suffer serious injury as a result of a fall.
The home recognises its responsibility to ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken to minimise the risks of slips, trips and falls for staff, service users, visitors and contractors.
Risk Control Policy
It is the home’s policy that it will reduce and control risks of slips, trips and falls by:
- ensuring that all health and safety risk assessments include an assessment of the risks of slips, trips and falls for all users of the home but especially for service users who are elderly and/or have impaired vision or mobility
- putting in place policies and procedures for reducing the risk of slips, trips and falls in the home
- ensuring that all service users are assessed on admission for any history of falls and those with a history of falls have a risk assessment conducted and the results added to their Care Plan
- monthly scrutinizing accident reports to identify if slip, trip and fall hazards are being effectively controlled
- ensuring that all care staff are trained in falls prevention and in the recognition and reporting of potential slip, trip and fall hazards.
To reduce the risks of slip hazards:
- non-slip floor surfaces will be used wherever possible, especially in higher risk areas such as kitchens, toilets, sluices and bathrooms
- access to areas where floors are wet after cleaning or where spillages have occurred will be restricted to authorised staff only by use of appropriate warning signs
- procedures will be in place for cleaning up spillages quickly and efficiently, including water left on the floor after baths
- the use of loose rugs and mats will be avoided
- procedures will be in place for ensuring that the clothing and footwear of clients and staff are of a satisfactory standard
- procedures will be in place for de-icing external footpaths
- good quality doormats will be used around entrances and exits to the outside with doorways protected from the weather and the ingress of rain.
To reduce the risks of trip hazards:
- activities involving electrical equipment are be planned to minimise trailing wires, i.e. staff should always use the nearest socket available
- an adequate number of fixed electrical sockets are provided in areas where electrical equipment is situated
- the use of training socket extension leads is discouraged
- weekly checks are carried out and recorded to ensure that worn or frayed areas of carpet, and raised carpet/flooring edges, are identified and repaired or replaced.
- good housekeeping procedures are implemented to prevent items and objects being left on the floor, especially in busy communal areas
- dependent or infirm service users are supervised as appropriate, eg to ensure shoe laces are securely tied and that slip-on shoes are not loose fitting and likely to fall off
- edges or variations in floor height, such as step and stair edges, are clearly marked wherever possible.
To reduce the risks of fall hazards:
- secure and obvious hand rails are fitted for all steps and stairs and along corridors – on both sides as necessary for stability
- a planned preventive maintenance program is in place, linked to regular risk assessment inspections, to ensure that all floor and other entry and exit routes have flat, even surfaces
- protruding or obstructing items of furniture or equipment, especially at low level, are removed
- lighting will be maintained to enable people to see obstructions and potentially slippery or uneven areas, etc so that staff can work safely and service users can move about safely
- lights will be replaced, repaired or cleaned whenever light levels become too low and new lights will be installed wherever poor lighting levels are identified as a hazard.
Care home staff in kitchen and food preparation areas should be particularly careful to put effective measures in place to avoid slips and should:
- wherever possible, avoid the spillage of water or contamination of the floor with oil or food debris
- use lids and covers for pans and containers, especially when they are being carried
- maintain equipment effectively to prevent any leaks of oil, water, etc
- ensure that a system is in place for promptly reporting and dealing with equipment faults
- arrange the timing of routine floor cleaning so that staff are not put at risk and hygiene is not compromised
- clean up spillages immediately
- avoid leaving floors wet after cleaning
- ensure that staff working in the kitchen wear appropriate footwear.
All kitchen staff will be properly trained, informed and supervised. Training will cover the significance of spillages, the importance of “cleaning as you go”, the need to report equipment defects and incidents as soon as they occur, and the importance of taking effective safety measures.
Due to their high risk, cleaning activities in this home will be given special attention in relation to slips on wet, polished or soapy surfaces. All cleaning staff will be trained in the correct use of any safety and cleaning equipment provided and cleaning methods and equipment must be suitable for the type of surface being treated. Staff should take care not to create additional slip or trip hazards while cleaning and to always use appropriate warning signs whenever floors are wet.
In this home all necessary maintenance or repair work should be completed as quickly as possible and attention paid to slip and trip hazards while work is actually being carried out either by home staff or by contractors. While waiting for repairs signs will be displayed to clearly mark areas that might present a hazard.
Winter Slips and Falls
The home recognises that winter snow and ice bring with them slippery conditions that can increase the risks of slips and falls. To reduce this risk the care home manager will:
- identify the outdoor areas used by staff, service users and visitors most likely to be affected by ice, eg building entrances, car parks, pedestrian walkways, shortcuts, sloped areas and areas constantly in the shade or wet
- monitor temperature and weather forecasts on a daily basis through the winter and take appropriate action
- put procedures in place to prevent an icy surface forming and/or keep pedestrians off the slippery surface
- ensure that if freezing overnight temperatures are forecast then surfaces are gritted with rock salt
- consider covering walkways, eg by an arbour high enough for people to walk through, or ensure that an insulating material is used on smaller areas overnight
- place barriers around dangerously icy areas and divert pedestrians to less slippery walkways.
This home is committed to an active approach to falls prevention. In this context additional control measures will be considered when performing a slips, trips and falls risk assessment for high risk service users such as those with limited mobility, with conditions such as osteoporosis or with conditions affecting their balance.
To help to reduce the risk of falls among such higher risk residents, the home will put in place the following measures:
- the provision of regular falls prevention advice from care professionals and training
- Robust falls risk assessment of all residents on admission, which includes medical, physical, psychological and environmental factors, with monthly reviews or more frequently if a change in a residents condition is seen
- systems for summoning help
- beds and chairs appropriate to individual needs and in good repair
- physiotherapist and occupational therapist support where required to implement treatment and prevention strategies
- appropriate levels of supervision
- the provision of an adequate, nutritious diet for residents.
Staff, service users and carers will be made aware of drug side effects related to falls as the home understands that some medications can disturb balance and mobility.
Regular scrutiny of accident reports will be conducted to identify if slip, trip and fall hazards are being properly controlled, ie if reported incidents are reducing in number. Annual audits of the management of slips, trips and falls within the home should also highlight strengths and weakness and clarify areas where improvements may be necessary.
If a resident falls the senior member of staff on duty must check the resident.
- If the fall was un-witnessed consider the possibility that the resident has hit their head, unless proven otherwise. Look for signs of a head injury and start neurological observations, recording findings if appropriate to the home
- If the resident is in pain or there appears to have been an injury a full assessment must be performed by a medically trained individual – a nurse, first aider, GP or Ambulance personnel
- If a major or serious injury is suspected, do not move the resident and call 999 for an ambulance
- If minor injury suspected e.g. bruising, minor wound to skin or slight discomfort, administer first aid and/or if no apparent injury assist resident to a comfortable place (using hoist/handling aid as appropriate)
- Complete Accident report and Falls Register following Falls adverse event check list and prompt sheets
- Contact residents NOK and document all events in residents care plan and daily record.
- Try to identify cause of the fall and review residents falls and moving and handling care plan making adjustments as appropriate.
- If resident requires hospitalisation inform Community Matron for Care Homes using appropriate documentation.
- Manager to consider reporting to RIDDOR and CQC as appropriateTraining
In this care home all care staff will be trained in falls prevention and in the recognition and reporting of potential slip, trip and fall hazards.
All slip, trip and fall training includes:
- staff responsibilities, and limitations, for health and safety as defined in the care home’s health and safety policy
- identification of vulnerable clients and familiarity with their disabilities and conditions
- identification of clients who require supervision for certain activities
- the risks and control measures associated with slips, trips and falls, both to themselves, the clients and any other visitors
- the procedures for cleaning up spillages, including any controls required by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) where the substances are defined as being hazardous
- the need to maintain high levels of housekeeping and tidiness in all areas at all times.
During training all staff should be encouraged to immediately report any slip, trip or fall hazard.
The Homes Manager together with the Training Manager is responsible for organising training on slips, trips and falls in this home.
This policy will be reviewed after one year to reflect experience gained during that period and progress made in its implementation.
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