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Healthcare Assignment: Workplace Safety & Health in Public Health Domain


Task: Context:
Each state in Australia has legislative requirements that govern work health safety. Australian workplaces are obligated to conduct work health safety assessments and provide methods by which safety incidents can be reported. Work health safety has significant implications for public health, but all workplaces are required to put work health safety policies and procedures in place to promote safety in the workplace.

To prepare for this healthcare assignment:

-Locate a suitable environment for conducting a work health safety risk assessment. This may be your own workplace, the workplace of a friend or family member, or a home office space. Make sure that you seek permission to conduct an assessment in a professional environment. -Review the resources at the Health and Safety Handbook website, and the steps to undertaking a Work Health and safety assessment here:

To complete your work health safety risk assessment:
1. Work through the steps of completing a work safety risk assessment and use the template provided to record any hazards identified, existing controls in place, the relative risk level, and any controls that are needed to further reduce risk. Remember that the purpose is to reduce risk and mitigate the effects of risks where risk is inherently present.

2. In a diverse workplace there may be subpopulations that are more vulnerable to the effects of a safety risk than others. Identify and describe any vulnerable populations, and propose solutions for mitigating risks for these groups.

To write up this case study:
1. Identify and describe any key agencies or institutions that govern work health safety in this type of working environment, and any policies that are relevant to maintaining a safe work environment (policies can be organisational, discipline-specific and/or national). 2. Summarise the findings of your work health safety assessment, including details relevant to managing risk for vulnerable populations, and provide recommendations to resolve the work safety risks identified.


As per the research on healthcare assignment, the corporate laws and principles by WHO designates each individual to work in a safe and a healthy environment. In this view workplace safety is referred to as the working environmentof a firm that promotes safety, health, and well-being workforce. Thus, any working environment whether it is a hospital, nursing homes, or corporate business houses, should be free hazards, unhealthy working conditions, free from workplace violence (like drug and alcohol abuse). Every corporation should monitor workplace risks for protecting the workers and clients from hazards. Thus, the report will analyse several workplace accidents and risks assessment for mitigating hazards.

Workplace Hazards of Hospital, Nursing Homes
According to Safe Work Australia, (2020), the health care industries have recorded 16% serious compensations for workplace accidents and injuries. Since the year 2003, 35 fatalities have been reported in subsectors of the industry that are Ambulatory health care services, hospitals, nursing, and residential care services, and social assistance (Safe Work Australia, 2020b). In the health care, sector workers are unprotected from various hazards that ismajorly contributed by the services, workplace location, and the clients (Safe Work Australia, 2020b).

Workplace Safety Policies
In Australia, Safe Work Australia is the policy framework that guides and improves work health and safety in the region. The agency collaborates with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, industry and unions for protecting the lives of workers as well as the patients. This agency provides advice on improving work health, also providing license and registrations in industries where dangerous work is involved. It also investigates workplace incidents and accidents, thereby enforcing healthy and safety regulations at workplaces in Australia.

It is estimated that nursing and midwifery are the medical professions in which individuals are exposed to workplace violence especially in service provided to aged care. The ANMF policies regarding safety and health practices in health care are

• Safe Patient Handling
• Compensation and rehabilitation for workers impacted from physical injury in nursing and other medical services.
• Protection of health care workers from workplace violence like bullying and fatigue
• Planning properwork rosters of workers
• Working environment that is free from smoke and stress

Risk Assessment
In a workplace scenario, injuries and accidents occur, if the health worker is exposed to hazards that are not properly regulated within the process of risk assessment. This further result in severe injuries that might impact productivity and overall profitability.World Health Organization (WHO) establishes every human is mandated to provide safety and healthy working environment (WHO, 2020). It was estimated that 2.3 million accidents occur in the global context every year. Australia reported 560,000 individuals to work-related injuries from the year July 2017 to June 2018 (McInnes et al, 2014). The workforce injuries not only harm individual lives but also imposing an economic burden on the country thus, each year 61 billion dollars are spent on workforce injury compensation.

Task Scenarios


Associated Harms

Existing Risk controls

Current risk rating

Any Additional Controls Required

Residual Risk Rating

Rotational work shifts

Mental Hazards

Sleeping disorders, Low Productivity and impact on mental health

Adequate Leaves and ensuring minimum sleeping hours for worker


Monitoring the rostering procedure of staffs


Long working hours

Mental Hazards

Tiredness and Increased sleepiness, Low productivity

Monitoring adequate working hours of employees

Medium to High

Regulating Leave policies for employees


Social and Family Disruptions

Physical and Mental Hazards

Disruption in Family life leading to unhealthy and stressful conditions at home.

Low Productivity and impacts on mental health

Provision and monitoring of adequate leaves, working hours.



Ensuring no disturbance policy after working hours


Exposure to Chemicals and Drugs

Physical Hazards

Lungs and Kidneys Diseases.

Long time absenteeism and Low productivity

Monitoring Safety Guidelines


Providing adequate protective kits to the workers


Workplace Accidents like wet floors, fire, and lifts accidents

Physical Hazards

Absenteeism, Physical Injuries

Continuous monitoring




As mentioned above, medical health workers are often exposed to mental and physical hazards due to workplace settings. Some physical hazards are avoidable like accidents occurred from fire, lift malfunctioning, physical injuries from renovations, and regular cleaning (Bahn, 2012). On the other hand, some psychological hazard risks are work rotations, long working hours can be avoided and thereby impact the well being of the workers (Kivimäki et al, 2018). In the recent situation of COVID-19, the health workers have worked long working hours with little or no physical rest for serving huge populations impacted by the virus (Department of Health, 2020). Apart from the several safety guidelines and procedures, many doctors, nurses, and other health staff have lost their lives due to continuous contact with patients infected with Corona Virus. In addition, the mental health care workers are exposed to various biological hazards like health care workers are engaged and exposed to highly toxic drugs, chemical agents. It becomes important for the Medical care service provides to conduct continuous monitoring and supervision on the working hours and shifts to mitigate potential risks. The medical care providers should conduct regular check-ups and provide rehabilitation and compensation for loss of lives and injuries.

Vulnerable Population
In the field of public health, the vulnerable population will be a disability, gender, old age, mentally sick individuals, Aboriginal people (Department of Health, 2020). The government has funded national strategy for combating the incidents, violence, and aggression towards health care workers. The Australian Government has funded no lift strategies in health, aged, and overall community care services. Thus, several agencies are responsible for employing resources for WHS inspectors thus ensuring active enforcements of WHS laws. In several community services like Aged care safe patient handling policies are not mandated due to which patients and care workers are exposed to risks and hazards. Also, vulnerable population like old aged and mentally ill individuals are exposed to psychological hazards like leak in privacy and confidentiality by the health care workers. In this view, the care workers are mandated by law to maintain and confidentiality of the clients while storing and sharing information (Victoria State Government, 2020).In the mental service care units, several supervisory functions should be routinely done for reducing the impacts of workplace stress and violence. Also, the workers should be given continuous counselling for coping with a stressful situation that is exposed to while serving the vulnerable population.

Ethico-Moral Principles
In the public health care sector, ethical and moral principles should be followed while serving patients. The ethical- moral principles in the public health domain demonstrate mandatory following of confidentiality and privacy principles for protecting the identity of the patients. In the counselling professions, the counsellors are forbidden for mental and physical relationships with existing or previous patients. Any recommendations or treatments, assessments of the patient should always be done after written and informed consent. Thus, it can be said ethical- moral principles not only safeguard the identity of the patients while also protect the community workers and clients from potential future risks.

Conducting healthy and safety audits help in improving the health and safety procedures of the health care organization (Health and Safety Handbook, 2011). In this view,

• The health care organization should identify the potential level of risks prevailing in the workplace settings
• The community service providers shall detect strengths and weaknesses in the safety and secured procedures.
• The legal compliances of the safety procedure should be accessed.
• Public health service providers should compare the current documentation with the previous year's documentation and appropriate legal compliances.
• The health workers should be actively involved in recommending improvements while ensuring the best resources available for health and safety procedures.
• The designated officers or supervisors in public health care units should ensure the effective utilization of health and safety resources. Thus, the companies in public health domains should conduct routine audits for the efficacy of health and safety management safety. The audits might be internally conducted or outsourced externally.

In the risk assessment section, various mental health risks have been identified. Thus, the public health services providers should conduct regular physical check-ups for especially for the employees that are engaged in the manufacturing of chemicals, drugs, and other health hazards scenarios. The authorities are recommended to roster the work shift considering the family background, physical and mental workers. Thus, if a worker is working extra hours, early exit allowances or adequate compensations should be provided. An individual or family member should be compensated in cases of deaths or severe injuries that occurred during work.

In-depth research on public health has helped in evaluating several hazards and risks to which the health workers are exposed to. In this view, some risks can be mitigated in early inspections and continuous monitoring while some health hazards like pandemics situations cannot be avoided. Thereby, the health care officials and agencies should undertake several strategies for mitigating all types of risks and health hazards to which the health worker is exposed. In Australia, Safe work Australia is the government agency that is responsible for ensuring and enforcing safety and health standards at the workplace. It can be concluded that each work should undertake an ethical-moral and supervisory role for identifying and mitigatinghazards and risks prevalent in the health sector.

Bahn, S. T. (2012). Workplace hazard identification: What do people know and how is it done? Annual Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics Australia and New Zealand., 1–9. Retrieved from

Department of Health.(2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for the health and aged care sector. Retrieved from

Health and Safety Handbook. (16 March 2011). How to conduct a health and safety audit. Retrieved from

Kivimäki, M., Nyberg, S. T., Batty, G. D., Madsen, I. E. H., &Tabák, A. G. (2018). Long Working Hours and Risk of Venous Thromboembolism.Epidemiology (Cambridge Mass), 29(5), e42–e44.

McInnes, J. A., Clapperton, A. J., Day, L. M., MacFarlane, E. M., Sim, M. R., & Smith, P. (2014). Comparison of data sets for surveillance of work-related injury in victoria, Australia.Healthcare assignmentOccupational and Environmental Medicine, 71(11), 780–787.

Safe Work Australia. (2020a). Identify, assess and control hazards. Retrieved from

Safe Work Australia. (2020b). Health care and social assistance. Retrieved from Victoria State Government.(2020). Privacy. Retrieved from WHO.(2020). Health workers. Retrieved from


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