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Health and safety

Suitsme itself is a virtual workplace; we don’t have a fixed office location. Suitsme employees work independently in a variety of settings including client’s homes, the community, their own home and shared office spaces. This means that all employees need to take responsibility for identifying hazards and take steps to control or eliminate hazards.

Keeping yourself safe

If you work with clients in their home or in the community, you need to be vigilant about risks and hazards.

Here we’ll mostly be talking about reducing risk by identifying and controlling hazards but remember, if you ever feel unsafe you should leave as soon as possible and call Suitsme management. Your safety is always your number one priority.

Accepting a session

All known risks will be listed in a client’s profile in “Important to know” and “Safety plan”. It’s important to review these prior to accepting a shift. If for some reason you don’t feel comfortable politely decline the session request.

This may be an indicator you should consider editing your profile and make sure it reflects your preferences (for example, if you are female and only want to work with female clients). It’s important not to mess clients around so making this clear and transparent is key.

Meeting a client for the first time

In some ways, the first session is no different to any other session, you must follow all the steps below to ensure you stay safe. The big difference is that you bring a fresh perspective to the situation. You may notice risks that other staff have not noticed.

If you ever feel unsafe you should leave as soon as possible, log an incident report and call Suitsme management.

Every shift

Here are a range of practices that you need to follow to ensure you stay safe:

  • Read the client’s profile prior to accepting the shift or visiting them. Even if it is a client you have worked with before, the information may have changed.
  • Assess the client. This includes looking for any sign of deterioration in mental health, intoxication or aggression:
    • If a client is intoxicated or aggressive, leave as soon as it is safe to do so and submit an incident report.
    • If the client’s mental health is deteriorating call Suitsme management as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Assess anyone else who is in the property (e.g. housemates, partners) for any signs of intoxication, aggression or erratic behaviour. If you have concerns, leave when it is safe to do so. The session can continue if the client comes with you; you should be open and honest with the client about why you needed to leave and check in with them about whether they feel safe.
  • Assess the environment for any hazards such as:
    • In the home: clutter, pets, mold, sharps or other drug paraphernalia.
    • In the community: driving hazards, extreme weather conditions, activities, other people in the community.
  • Identify a clear exit route. This includes ensuring that the door is left unlocked (or that you can quickly unlock it if you need to leave).

If you ever feel unsafe you should leave as soon as possible, log an incident report and call Suitsme management.

Supporting a client who is unwell or injured

When a client’s mental health has deteriorated to the extent that they are acutely unwell, or if a client is physically injured this may be a stressful time for you. Remember that it is not your job to fix this situation, but you have a duty of care to support the client to access professional treatment. Follow these steps:

  1. Keep yourself safe – your safety comes before your duty of care to others.
  2. Once you are safe, call 000.
  3. Log an incident report in the app.
  4. Follow the incident management document.

Handing over duty of care

If a client needs to attend hospital you will have called 000 and an ambulance will attend.

  • Give the paramedics all the relevant information you have.
  • At this point you have handed over duty of care. It’s time to leave and follow the incident management document.
  • Take care driving. You may be escalated, and it may not be safe for you to drive immediately.
  • Do not go in the ambulance with the client; and
  • Do not follow the ambulance to the hospital.

Attending hospital (emergency department) with a client is not a good option. Please don’t do this. If, for some reason you find yourself in this situation:

  • Explain to the client that you cannot stay there with them.
  • Find the Duty Nurse.
  • Explain the situation to the Duty Nurse and give them all the relevant information you have. At this point you have handed over duty of care. It’s time to leave and follow the incident management document.
  • You may need to be assertive with the client and the Duty Nurse in order to leave.

Supporting a client who is being involuntarily admitted

Sometimes a client’s clinical team will decide that they need to be hospitalised, even though that is not what the the client wants. You might hear this referred to as being “involuntarily admitted”, “formed” or as a “treatment order”.

As a Suitsme employee, you must not get involved in this process. Suitsme is all about choice and control for client and, although we understand that involuntary admission has a role to play in clients’ safety, it is in the domain of clinical services, not NDIS services.

If a client is, or is going to be involuntarily admitted:

  • Leave as soon as possible
  • Do not transport the client to the clinic or hospital
  • Do not go in the car with the client or clinical workers
  • Log an incident in the app

Injury Management

In the event of a work related injury, Suitsme management is committed to assisting injured workers to return to work as soon as medically appropriate and will adhere to the requirements of the Worker’s Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981. Suitsme management supports the injury management process and recognises that success relies on the active participation and cooperation of the injured worker. Whenever possible, suitable duties will be arranged internally having regard for the injured worker’s medical restrictions. If you would like more details on our injury management process contact Suitsme management.

When there is an injury at work Suitsme management will:

  1. Take all necessary action to provide the injured worker with immediate access to appropriate medical assistance.
  2. Inform appropriate parties as soon as possible, including CCI insurance.
  3. Inform the worker of the need to gain a First Certificate of Capacity.
  4. Supply the worker with a Worker’s Compensation Claim Form.
  5. Assist the worker to complete the claim form.
  6. Lodge the First Certificate of Capacity and claim form with the insurer within five working days.
  7. Maintain close contact with the injured worker to check on progress and make arrangements for the worker to remain at work or return to work as soon as medically appropriate.
  8. Prepare a return to work program in consultation with the treating medical practitioner and the injured worker, as required. A Return to Work template can be found here.
  9. Refer the worker to a workplace rehabilitation provider when required.
  10. Monitor progress towards the return to work goal.
  11. Communicate regularly with the insurer in relation to the injured worker’s claim.

If you are seriously injured then we will also report the incident to Workcover and (if applicable) other statutory bodies.

Emergency contacts/Next of Kin

Suitsme will ask you to provide details of an emergency contact or NOK when you sign your contract. It is your responsibility to update Suitsme management if these details change.

If you are seriously injured, or Suitsme have serious concerns for your welfare, Suitsme management will contact your emergency contact/NOK.

Completing Sessions

Workers are required to mark sessions as “Complete” as soon as possible after the session ends. The app sends prompt notifications to any workers who have sessions that need finalisation.

Managing Waste

Suitsme workers do not generally come into contact with or manage infectious or hazardous substances in the delivery of supports.

  • Disposal of the client’s general waste in their weekly council garbage collection is the responsibility of the client.
  • Disposal of contaminated waste (e.g. client bodily fluids) is the responsibility of the client. Workers are to follow appropriate infection control procedures.

If you do come into contact with or manage infectious or hazardous substances in the delivery of supports then you must report this as an incident.