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There are different legislations that apply to infection control and we are going to look at a few of these.   Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 which is usually referred to as RIDDOR for short, came into force on 1 April 1996 and amended in 2012.

Reportable Illnesses & diseases include:

  • Outbreaks of diarrhoea, scabies, measles and sickness
  • Certain Poisonings
  • Some skin diseases such as occupational dermatitis, skin cancer
  • Lung diseases including occupational asthma, farmer's lung or asbestosis
  • Infections such as hepatitis, tuberculosis, anthrax tetanus
  • And other conditions that could result from problems with infection control.

The COSHH Regulations 1999 apply to all work with substances hazardous to health (including microorganisms). COSHH stands for Control of Substances Hazardous to Health.

The substances hazardous to health which a general practitioner and his staff might encounter include not only the chemical agents present in the workplace but also disease organisms brought in by patients to which staff might be exposed. COSHH information should be available where chemicals are stored.

The regulations provide a comprehensive policy for the employer to "manage the risk". The object is to prevent exposure to hazardous substances if reasonably practical.  If not, such exposure should be controlled adequately.  Methods of control will vary, but the use of personal protective equipment such as gloves, gowns and aprons should be regarded as a last resort.

The main features of the regulations are:

  • To identify substances hazardous to health in the workplace
  • To formally assess (in writing) the risk to employees from these materials
  • To control adequately and monitor the risk
  • To provide health surveillance where appropriate
  • To provide adequate instruction and training

Health and Safety Regulations require an employer has a duty of care toward his employees, service users and others who visit or work at the Care Home to provide a safe place of work, to train staff appropriately and to provide personal protective equipment under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Adequate supervision and clear lines of communication are important factors. As a requirement of clinical governance, individual Care Homes are expected to develop their own customised infection control policy, which outlines the actual procedures used in their homes.

If you are working in Care Homes, these are also potentially hazardous workplaces and expose their workers to a wide range of physical, chemical, biological and psychological hazards. Therefore Occupational Health and Safety issues relating to the personal safety and protection of its workers are a very important Environmental Health concern.

Finally, care homes and hospitals should also be concerned with environmental protection through their waste management strategy, and in particular, the collection and disposal of contaminated waste. There are other regulations that apply to infection control and you should consult your workplace policies and procedures to ensure you meet all that apply to your workplace.