Follow WHS safety procedures for direct care work

This unit specifies the workplace performance required by an individual involved in following work health and safety procedures for direct care work.The unit focuses on maintaining safety of the worker, the people being supported and other community members


On completion of this unit, the worker in these particular sectors will be able to accurately identify the major work health and safety hazards, manual handling, together with other hazards that may include dealing with behaviours of concern, stress, etc

The worker will also be able to assess related risk as well as follow instructions and procedures with minimal supervision and support

The worker will also be capable of participating and contributing to work health and safety (WHS) management issues

Where the worker is undertaking tasks delegated by a health professional specific instruction or policy should be provided in relation to infection control or the worker should have the skills and knowledge addressed in HLTIN301C Comply with infection control policies and procedures in health work


Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria

Identify sources of risk to personal safety, assess the level of risk and follow risk minimisation procedures

1.1 Identify environments, situations and client-related risk factors

1.2 Apply practical strategies and organisation procedures to minimise risk

1.3 Identify any behaviours of concern in the work context and follow organisation procedures to minimise risk

1.4 Identify risks associated with driving and travelling with and without clients and follow organisation procedures to minimise risk

1.5 Follow organisation policies and procedures when working in a new or unstable environment

Identify manual handling hazards, assess related risk and follow risk minimisation procedures

2.1 Identify manual handling hazards

2.2 Assess the risk using the tools described in the Manual Handling Code of practice (or equivalent) for own State/territory

2.3 Apply recognised control measures for manual handling risk, including eliminating manual handling wherever possible

2.4 Follow established manual handling procedures and work instructions for minimising manual handling activity/risk

Identify sources of infection and apply industry accepted practice to minimise risk of infection to themselves, clients and others

3.1 Identify risks of infection

3.2 Apply standard precautions to prevent the spread of infection as part of own work routine

3.3 Recognise situations when additional infection control procedures are required

3.4 Apply additional precautions when standard precautions alone may not be sufficient to prevent transmission of infection

3.5 Identify other sources of infection for workers

Identify other hazards and assess risk

4.1 Identify other hazards in the work area during the performance of duties

4.2 Assess level of risk

4.3 Conduct environmental assessment to identify potential sources of risk to personal safety

Follow procedures and strategies for risk control

5.1 Report hazards in the work area to designated personnel according to workplace procedures

5.2 Follow accurately workplace procedures and work instructions for controlling risks with minimal supervision

5.3 Whenever necessary, within the scope of responsibilities and competencies, follow workplace procedures for dealing with incidents, fire and/or hazardous events

Contribute to WHS in the workplace

6.1 Describe employee rights and employer obligations regarding consultation on WHS matters

6.2 Raise task and/or job specific WHS issues with appropriate people in accordance with workplace procedures and relevant WHS legislative requirements

6.3 Contribute to participative arrangements for WHS management in the workplace within organisation procedures and the scope of responsibilities and competencies

6.4 Provide feedback to supervisor on hazards in work area in line with organisation WHS policies and procedures

6.5 Provide support in implementing procedures to control risks in accordance with organisation procedures

Required Skills

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge:

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

These include:

Awareness of all relevant workplace procedures including:

hazard management policies and procedures

care plans and work instruction

procedures for the use of manual handling and mobility equipment, personal protective equipment, duress and other alarms

emergency, fire and incident procedures

Awareness of the role of Safe Work Australia and the National Work Health and Safety model

Current state/territory WHS legislation and how it impacts on workplace regulations, codes of practice and industry standards

Basic concepts of likelihood of occurrence and consequences (severity) of injury

Basic home fire safety

Basic understanding of sources of infection and means to minimise transfer of infectious diseases

Awareness that WHS issues are regulated

Duty of care within the respective scope of responsibilities

Knowledge and understanding of the workplace WHS system sufficient to recognise situations affecting WHS and to take the appropriate action to rectify the situation, including specific awareness of manual handling hazards as well as general awareness of other hazards that occur in the sector

Knowledge of the relationship between WHS and sustainability in the workplace, including how the maintenance of health and safety contributes to environmental, economic, workforce and social sustainability

Meaning of WHS signs and symbols relevant to the work area

Significance of service provision setting

Relevant state/territory Manual Handling Code of practice

Relevant state/territory WHS authority or department

Essential skills:

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to:

Apply and describe procedures for:

recognising hazards, particularly with regard to manual handling, in the workplace

reporting hazards identified using documented organisation processes

Identify manual handling risk and modify work practices appropriately

Identify risks to personal safety and apply accepted practices to minimise risk

Demonstrate standard infection control procedures, including use of approved hand washing techniques

Work safely, and follow the enterprise’s WHS policies and procedures

Identify, report and manage workplace hazards (within the limits of worker control)

Undertake appropriate observation and reporting

In addition, the candidate must be able to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

These include the ability to:

Access and use manual handling equipment commonly available in the industry sector to reduce risks associated with manual handling

Communicate WHS issues to designated personnel

Demonstrate correct use of equipment according to organisation and manufacturer instructions

Exercise duty of care within the respective scope of responsibilities in accordance with current WHS legislation

Identify client-related risk factors and modify approach and choice of equipment to minimise risk

Implement work processes and practices to prevent or minimise risk

Recognise potential situations that require action and then implement appropriate corrective action as much as possible to eliminate risk

Refer to and apply safe work practices

Solve problems

Take into account and use opportunities to address waste minimisation, environmental responsibility and sustainable practice issues

Use body biomechanics, as a supplement to other manual handling risk reduction strategies, to reduce the risk in routine tasks

Use reading and writing skills – appropriate literacy competence – as required to fulfil job roles in a safe manner and as specified by organisation/service and to access information in care plans, read labels and workplace procedures:

literacy support in the workplace may range from having access to support or assistance from expert/mentor/supervisor, to having no communication supports available

literacy may be required in English, a community language, or Braille, etc, depending on the language used in pamphlets or workplace manual

Apply communication skills – language competence – as required to fulfil job roles in a safe manner and as specified by the organisation/service:

assessors should look for skills in asking questions, providing clear information including to client and co-worker, listening to and understanding workplace instructions, and clarifying workplace instructions when necessary

service/organisation may require competence in English or community language, depending on client group

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects of assessment:

This unit is most appropriately assessed in the workplace or in a simulated workplace and under the normal range of workplace conditions

Simulation should be based on the actual work setting and must include demonstration of practical skills such as use of appropriate equipment

Simulations may also include the use of case studies, scenarios and role play

In addition to the practical skills, this unit of competency requires a body of knowledge which may be assessed through questioning and the use of 'what if' scenarios both on site (during demonstration of normal procedures and walk throughs of abnormal ones) and off site (e.g. in transit, home visits, telephone counselling, etc)

Assessment will occur over a range of situations that may include disruptions to normal smooth operations

Assessment may need to be conducted over an extended period of time, or on more than one occasion to cover the relevant range of situations

Within the limits of worker, client and public safety and the requirements of the competency, consideration must be given to workers whose literacy skills are limited and/or who are physically and/or intellectually disabled

Access and equity considerations:

All workers in community services should be aware of access, equity and human rights issues in relation to their own area of work

All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment

In recognition of particular issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Context of and specific resources for assessment:

Assessment will require access to:

Client handling and mobility devices commonly used in the industry sector including patient hoists, standing lifter, wheelchair, slide sheets and other client assistive devices and mobility aids

Recognised risk control strategies

Appropriate equipment

Workplace health and safety policies and procedures

Other related policies and procedures

Duties statements and/or job descriptions

Sample care plans

Method of assessment:

Assessment may be best conducted using a range of practical exercises and scenarios/case studies/what ifs as well as through questions to check the reasoning behind the observable actions

These assessment activities should include a range of routine problems that may have been generated from the past incident history and hazardous incidents in similar work contexts within the sector and/or industry

A diversity of assessment tasks is essential for holistic assessment

Range Statement

The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Definition of hazard:

A ‘hazard’ is something with the potential to cause injury or disease to people, damage to property or disruption to productivity

Hazards arise, for example, from workplace environment; use of plant for example and equipment; poor work design; inappropriate systems, procedures and/or human behaviour

Legislative requirements for manual handling and WHS consultation/participation vary in different states and will include:

National Work Health and Safety Model

Current relevant State/territory WHS legislation

Relevant state/territory Manual Handling Code of Conduct

Examples of manual handling hazards in the aged care and disabilities sectors include:

Carrying trays and other items

Lifting tasks such as moving a person in bed, assisting to stand, transfer to chair or wheelchair, lifting objects

Pushing pulling tasks such as pushing trolleys, wheel chairs, shower chairs, dressing clients

Reaching and postural tasks such as feeding a person, showering

Restraining tasks

The risk factors for manual handling are influenced by:

Duration and frequency of the task

Environmental conditions such as underfoot conditions, lighting, heat

Forces exerted

In people-handling the risk is also affected by the:

ability of client to support/control part/whole of the body

predictability in movement and behaviours

pain levels

ability to follow instructions

any equipment attached to the client
e.g. catheters, IVs etc

client clothing

Movement undertaken

Postures adopted

Manual handling equipment may include:

Client hoists

Other manual handling assistive devices

Slide sheets

Standing lifters

Sources of risk to personal safety:

Alcohol and/or drug use

Behaviours of concern

Personal risks may arise from clients, client family, the public or animals

Risk environments may be in access to work (e.g. car parking arrangements, access to private home) and in carrying out work

Situations with a higher risk of threat and client related factors may be identified from incident reports, care plans, case management meetings

Working new, isolated and/or potentially unstable environments

Examples of workplace hazards in aged care, home and community care and disabilities sectors (other than manual handling) may include:

Biological hazards including body fluids; contaminated food; soiled clothing and linen; clinical waste; syringes and other 'sharps'; etc

Chemicals (e.g. toxic or hazardous substances, gases and liquids under pressure, includes cleaning chemicals)

Electrical hazards related to use of equipment, faulty wiring

Equipment including suitability for purpose and fitness for use

Personal threat by (e.g. through behaviours of concern) clients and/or visitors

Work organisation issues such as shift work or irregular hours/on call

Work-related environment (e.g. underfoot, lighting, space, noise, air quality, furniture/fittings, car parking etc)

Work-related stress

Standard precautions include:

Appropriate reprocessing and storage of reusable instruments

Aseptic technique

Personal hygiene practices especially washing and drying hands (e.g. before and after client contact)

Safe disposal of sharps and other clinical waste

Safe handling of sharps

Surface cleaning and management of blood and body fluid spills

Techniques to limit contamination

Use of personal protective equipment

Additional precautions may include:

Additional use of personal protective equipment

Dedicated equipment (e.g. to each client or as appropriate to work function)

Special ventilation requirements

Organisation procedures for managing risks, including those related to manual handling may be:

Client assessment documents and care plans

Communication, consultation and issue resolution procedures

Hazard management documents include policies and procedures on specific hazards as well as hazard and incident reporting (including follow up to sharps incidents) and investigation, workplace inspections, maintenance etc

Hazard management policies and procedures (these may be integrated with quality, care or other documents or be separated as WHS policies and procedures)

Human resources management procedures such as harassment and grievance procedures, induction programs, team meetings, management of performance levels, alcohol and drug policies

Job procedures and work instructions, including medications policy and procedures

Other related procedures including waste management, security

Post incident/injury management such as first aid, critical incident debriefing, compensation and return to work

Strategies for reducing the amount of manual handling required and manual handling risk

Supporting people with behaviours of concern

Work instructions may be:

In a community language

In English

Provided visually e.g. video, WHS signs, symbols and other pictorial presentation, etc.


Work instructions include care plans and there should be an awareness of their role in risk management especially in risks associated with manual handling and behaviours of concern


Designated personnel for WHS referrals may be:

Elected Health and Safety Representative/employee representative


Health and Safety committee

Other personnel with WHS responsibilities


Examples of WHS issues which may be raised by workers with designated personnel may include:

Clarification on understanding of WHS policies and procedures

Communication and consultation processes, including carer input to care plans

Effectiveness of risk controls in place

Follow up to reports and feedback

Hazards identified

WHS impact of the changing condition of clients

Problems encountered in managing risks associated with hazards, in particular, manual handling
(e.g. availability and appropriateness of handling and mobility equipment) and behaviours of concern

Training needs

Examples of contributions may include:

Attendance at meetings

Behaviour that contributes to a safe working environment which includes following WHS procedures

Identifying and reporting risks and hazards

Input to care plans

Listening to the ideas and opinions of others in the team

Recommendations on changes to work processes, equipment or practices

Sharing opinions, views, knowledge and skills

Using equipment according to guidelines and operating manuals

Examples of participative arrangements may include:

Documented issue resolution processes

Easy access to relevant written workplace information

Formal and informal WHS meetings

Health and safety committees

Meetings called by Health and Safety Representatives

Other committees such as consultative planning and purchasing

Other means and processes for raising requests and concerns as well as contributing suggestions and reports to management

Regular information sessions (using clear and understandable language) on existing or new WHS issues

Team meeting and case management meetings

Risk control in the work area may include:

Application of the hierarchy of risk control, namely:

Level 1 controls

Eliminate hazards

Level 2 controls

Substitute the hazard with something safer

Isolate the hazard from people

Use engineering controls

Level 3 controls

Use administrative controls

Use personal protective equipment (PPE)

Controlling manual handling risks in the work area may include:

Changes to the load or client

Changes to work organisation or work practices

Changes to workplace layout

Minimising amount of handling

Provision of equipment

Task-specific training

Report hazards in the work areamay be verbal or written and may include:




Phone messages

Specially designed report forms

Basic home fire safety includes knowledge of:

Behaviour that may contribute to fire injury and/or fatality

High fire risk groups

Optimum placement of smoke alarms

Referring client for smoke alarm installation and maintenance

Role of a working smoke alarm

Smoke alarm testing and cleaning

Types of smoke alarms


Not applicable.

Employability Skills

This unit contains Employability Skills

Licensing Information

Not applicable.