Ward

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Biological Agents

Risk of:

  • Infection e.g. Legionnaires' disease.

Possible causes:

  • Exposure to infectious patients.
  • Failure to use standard precautions.
  • Stagnation of water system.
  • Failure to maintain water system.

Chemical Agents

Risk of:

  • Health effects such as allergies, eye irritation, dermatitis, birth defects, cancer.
  • Fire, explosion, hit by flying projectiles.
  • Suffocation.

Possible causes:

  • Eating and drinking in inappropriate areas.
  • Needlestick injuries.
  • Failure, rupture or leakage of compressed gas cylinders or fittings.
  • Insecure or unrestrained gas cylinders.

Exposure to:

  • Latex consumables.
  • Medications or excreted, unmetabolised drugs in patient's urine or faeces.
  • Hazardous drugs due to inhalation from over pressurised vials or connecting and disconnecting intravenous tubing.
  • Hazardous risk waste.
  • Detergents and disinfectants.

Electricity

Risk of:

  • Burns.
  • Electric shock.
  • Death.
  • Fire.

Possible causes:

  • Lack of equipment maintenance.
  • Handling sockets or equipment with wet hands.
  • Overloading of sockets.

Environment

Risk of:

  • Bruises.
  • Physical injury.

Possible causes:

  • Lack of space.
  • Collision with objects. for example, poor siting of linen or meal trolleys.
  • Inadequate lighting causing falls or collisions.

 

Equipment

(such as wheelchairs, pump beds, electrical equipment).

Risk of:

  • Cuts and bruises.
  • Electric shock.
  • Crushing injuries.

Possible causes:

  • Caught in moving parts.
  • Lack of training.
  • Lack of maintenance and thorough examination.

Fire

Risk of:

  • Burns.
  • Smoke inhalation.
  • Death.

Possible causes:

  • Patients smoking.
  • Arson.
  • Obstructed fire escape routes.
  • Patient / visitor introducing electrical item / sparking toys into oxygen enriched environment.
  • Contamination of oxygen or nitrous oxide supply system with oil or grease.
  • Malfunctioning medical equipment.

Ionising Radiation

Risk of:

  • Genetic damage.
  • Reproductive damage.

Possible causes:

  • Unsafe work practices when caring for patients who have received therapeutic amounts of radionuclides.

Manual / Patient Handling

Risk of:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders.

Possible causes:

  • Uncooperative patient.
  • Awkward load liable to shift or drop.
  • Preventing patient falling e.g. from a bed or commode chair.
  • Lack of or inappropriate mechanical handling aids.
  • Overexertion from lifting, transferring or repositioning patients.
  • Improper lifting technique.
  • Incorrect sling being used for the hoist.
  • Unmaintained hoists.

 

Sharps

Risk of:

  • Puncture wound.
  • Infection.

Possible causes:

  • Needle stick or sharp instrument injury whilst carrying out nursing activities e.g. taking blood.
  • Handling of broken glass or porcelain.

 

Shift Work

Risk of:

  • Digestion problems.
  • Heart disease.
  • Sleep problems.

Possible causes:

  • Changing shifts.
  • Working nights.

Slips,Trips & Falls

Risk of:

  • Minor injuries such as cuts to major injuries such as broken bones, concussion and even death.

Possible causes:

  • Trailing cables, loose medical tubing or nurse call bells, phone cords or computer cables.
  • Wet slippery surfaces e.g. due to leaking soap dispensers, water, urine or food.
  • Dry slippery surfaces e.g. due to dust or plastic wrapping.
  • Lack of sockets.
  • Assisting unsteady patients.
  • Poor housekeeping.

Stress

Risk of:

  • Psychological disorders.
  • Health effects.

Possible causes:

  • Poor work organisation.
  • Dealing with intense emotional situations or bereaved family.
  • Making life or death decisions.
  • Shift work.
  • Time pressure.
  • Excessive work load.
  • Combative patients.
  • Role ambiguity.
  • Poor management ability.
  • Inadequate resources e.g. staffing levels.
  • High or unrealistic patient expectations.
  • Bullying.

 

Violence and Aggression

Risk of:

  • Physical injury and / or psychological effects.

Possible causes:

  • Nursing patients especially confused or vulnerable patients.
  • Patient reaction to nursing procedures e.g. taking blood.
  • Aggressive colleagues.
  • Dealing with angry, stressed patients or family members.

Further Information

For further information on related controls click here.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of hazards and risks.