Workers who attend people’s homes can be exposed to various safety risks, depending on the nature of the work they are performing and the environment, in which they are working.
Safety isn’t just about protecting the people that make your organization happen, its a cost reduction opportunity. In the US:
- The average cost of a lost-time injury in the United States was $42,000 in 2019, according to the National Safety Council. Add COVID-19 and inflation, that’s going to have risen.
- The cost of injuries can vary widely depending on the industry. For example, the average cost of a workplace injury in the healthcare industry was $20,000 in 2019, while the average cost in the manufacturing industry was $37,000, according to the National Safety Council.
Common injury points
Some common safety risks for workers who attend people’s homes include:
- Physical violence: Workers who interact with clients in their homes, such as healthcare providers or social workers, may be at risk of physical violence from clients or family members. This can include verbal threats, physical assault, or even sexual assault. Consider this high level sobering statistic. In 2021 761 workers were fatally killed while at work in the US.
- Slip, trip, and fall hazards: Workers who enter clients’ homes may be exposed to slip, trip, and fall hazards, such as wet floors, cluttered walkways, or uneven surfaces.
- Exposure to hazardous materials: Workers who perform cleaning or maintenance tasks in clients’ homes may be exposed to hazardous materials, such as cleaning chemicals, pesticides, or asbestos.
- Electrical hazards: Workers who perform maintenance or repair tasks in clients’ homes may be exposed to electrical hazards, such as faulty wiring or live electrical circuits.
- Animal attacks: Workers who enter clients’ homes may be at risk of animal attacks from pets, such as dogs or cats.
Avoid the pain, cost and disruption
To minimize these safety risks, it’s important for workers to be trained in safety systems, procedures, risk assessments, or have access to an integrated active intervener system.
Employers can implement and communicate, relevant and meaningful safety policies and procedures, to help minimize the risk of workplace injuries, and provide workers with support and resources in the event of a workplace incident.