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SHERQ: Safety in the workplace. 

Community Nursing information


Safety is freedom from harm or danger, that can be a result of an incident or accident 

Incident is an undesired event that may cause personal harm or other damage, but does not always incur damage to the person eg an argument between people, or when a car fails to start.

Accident —A bad event, often caused by chance or error. Unintentional,  unplanned, undesired event in a sequence of events that causes an unintended injury, death or property damage. Eg when someone trips or falls off a ladder, or when the car that didn’t start, stalls at a traffic light resulting in another vehicle rear ending it.

Safety in the workplace results in employees being able to work effectively as they can focus on the job / task at hand

Safety is about protecting your most valuable asset – the worker.

To be safe, you have to be aware of the risk / danger, when how and where, and to put measures in place to avoid harm. 

Employee involvement is just as important as manager involvement 

Examples of workplace hazards:

  • Chemical risks – (identify toxics explosive, corrosive and flammable areas) 
  • Electrical Risks (shock/short circuit, fire, static, loss of power)
  • Ergonomics (type of work being done causing bad posture, chairs, lifting heavy objects, strain, human error) excavation (collapse)
  • Explosion (chemical reaction, over pressurization)
  • Falling / slipping / tripping (condition results in slip/trip from heights or on walking surfaces — poor housekeeping, negligence in preparation for building / maintenance, uneven surfaces, exposed ledges)
  • Fire/heat (burns) 
  • Mechanical (vibration, chaffing, material fatigue, failure, body part exposed to damage)
  • Noise (hearing damage, inability to communicate, stress)
  • Radiation (X-rays, microwave ovens, microwave towers for radio or TV stations or wireless technology)
  • Temperature extreme (heat stress, exhaustion, hypothermia)
  • Trauma (falling objects / projectiles, injury by equipment)
  • Visibility (lack of lighting or obstructed vision that results in error or injury)
  • Weather (snow, sleet,  rain, wind, ice that increases or creates a hazard)


Health within the company influences the effficiency of work and productivity, more will be discussed under the  Infectious Disease Module

It is important for every Health and Sfety representative to be able to identify problesm, it is not your responsibility to diagnose illness as only a medical practioner is legally allowed to do this. 

You are however allowed to diagnose the symptome of the disease or proble. Eg High temperature, fast heart rate, rash over bosy. For this to be done effectively and correctly, you will need to know what the normal parameters are, to be able to identify what the abnormal will be. 

A health reporting system can be valuable where dates and illnesses of employees/staff are noted. his helps to spot trends that are happening, abuse of leave, or even identifation of possibel high risk times and areas in the workplace. 

Eg during April and Spetember, one employee always tends to get bronchitis. This can be a sign of a possible allergy triggered by season change, or even asthma.

Another employee regularly takes the 1st Monday off of the month with a tummy bug - but does not have any medical letter to show this its true. This could point to an overuse of alcohol after pay day. Although the representative may not make false accusations, they can put procedures in place to prevent false claims, and ultimately a loss of income for the compny which will influence all the employees, not just the "sick" one. 

Handwashing has been proven to be the most effective in prevention of work related illness.



Workplace Health Hazards



Smoking danger awareness is also a responsibility of the Health and Safety rep, as smoking related illness can make a huge impact on general health and well being.

Smoking has been linked strongly to causing : 

Lung cancer as the tar sits in the lungs

Airway cancers  - nose, throat

Causes COPD - Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease / Emphysema. Where the erson suffocates to death over many years. Unfortunately they are sick so often with pneumonia and broncial disease before that they use up most of the medical fund provision on this. These persons  end up living on oxygen 

Surgical complications: Smoking reduces the oxygen to the area needing healing, and there are many surgeons who refuse to do the surgery if the patient is smoking.

Bladder cancer : Nicotene is excreted through the kidneys, and pools in the bladder causing cancer

Malnutrition: Nicotene is responsible for vitamins not being absorbed, suppressing appetite and is used for weight loss to the detriment of the persons long term health.

Poisons: cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing compounds and 400 other toxins. We would not add these to our food, yet smoke them in regularly. Cigarettes contain nicotine which is highly addictive, tar, and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde used to preserve dead bodies, ammonia, DDT, hydrogen cyanide and arsenic. This is not even including the candle wax on the paper.

2nd hand smoking has been shown to be more poisonous, as there are no filters on second hand smoke ie you kill you family and friends with you. 

Reduced smell and taste

Increased sinusitis, bronchitis and lung illness

Increased hospitalisation time post-op

Other health hazards: Brittle bones, heart and vascular disease. 

At any given time smoking cigarettes is destructive to all in the vicinity, and putting all the money into hurting yourself. 








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This site in no way substitutes medical advice given by a
medical practitioner and is meant as supporting information only.
The information is not intended for harm, to be seen as diagnosis,
or treatment but is infomrational only. Harm may result in ignoring medical
help and treatment, or in the neglecting of the medical treatment given/suggested
to you by your medical practitioner. The staff of the website intend the information
as informational  and supportive only,
and do not endorse self medication or ignoring medical advice.