HSE undertakes assurance inspections in the NHS

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is undertaking a series of assurance inspections in the NHS to assess how risks of workplace violence and aggression and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are managed.

The HSE is carrying out assurance inspections in the NHS to see if recommendations regarding violence and aggression and MSDs have been taken forwardInspectors from Britain’s health and safety watchdog are focusing on the findings and recommendations from the HSE’s 4-year inspection programme on the risk management of work-related violence and aggression and MSDs in the NHS.

HSE examines risk management in the NHS

The original inspection programme was carried out between 2018 and 2022. It identified management failings in four broad areas. These were:

  • Risk assessment
  • Training
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Monitoring and review

Overall, HSE inspectors found that, although NHS employers had relevant policies and procedures in place to address work-related violence and aggression and MSDs, they were often not monitored or reviewed to ensure that they worked in practice or remained effective.

The health and safety watchdog shared these findings with all NHS Trust and Board Chief Executives across Britain and with relevant NHS stakeholder groups and unions.

Where inspectors identified breaches of workplace law, the HSE took suitable enforcement measures, such as the issuing of Improvement Notices.

NHS assurance inspections to assess actions taken

NHS Trusts and Boards were informed of the HSE's findings and recommendations regarding violence and aggression and MSDs in the NHSNow, the so-called ‘assurance inspections’ are combining high-level engagement with senior managers at selected NHS Trusts and Boards with ‘on-the-ground’ inspections in order to assess the effectiveness of measures implemented to address the HSE’s findings and recommendations.

The assurance inspections began in November and will continue into the New Year, focusing on the key areas identified in the report.

The HSE’s Head of Health and Social Care Services Sector, John Crookes, said that the watchdog “recognises that those who work in the healthcare sector can be at risk from V&A and MSDs.”

He added: “We hope all NHS trusts and boards will take note of our findings and review their operations to check these risks are being managed effectively.”

The HSE provides advice and guidance about managing violence and aggression at work in order to protect workers on their website.

They also provide guidance on managing the risks of work-related musculoskeletal disorders to protect the health and safety of workers.

Learning and development solutions for care workers

NHS Trusts must ensure that staff are not being put at unnecessary risk of v&a and MSDsWhen it comes to work-related violence and aggression, the HSE advises that training “can provide workers with appropriate skills to reduce or diffuse potential incidents,” and that it should be available to everyone who may be at risk, including cleaners and maintenance workers and temporary or agency staff.

Workers should be trained at a level which is appropriate to the needs of their work activities. Where workers face a significant risk of physical violence at work, they may need additional training in skills such as physical intervention techniques.

In addition, all workers who may have to engage in moving and handling tasks – whether of objects or when supporting people to move – should undergo comprehensive training to ensure they understand the safe practical techniques to use to protect from injury.

Employers should ensure they are regularly holding refresher training to ensure workers’ skills remain up to date, and that they regularly review their training needs and evaluate training courses for effectiveness.

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading national training provider delivering courses in subjects such as health and safetyfirst aidfire safetyfood safetymental healthhealth and social care and more.

The HSE provides guidance for the nhs on managing the risks of work-related violence and aggression and MSDsTheir workplace health and safety training includes awards in Health and SafetyConflict Resolution and Personal Safety, Managing and Assessing Risk, Lone Working, Moving and Assisting People and Accident and Incident Investigation.

They have previously worked with organisations to develop bespoke training for them in subjects as such Hostile Situations, Conflict Resolution and Personal Safety and De-escalation and Breakaway Techniques.

A trainer from FRT says:

“Workers in health and social care do a vital and sometimes incredibly challenging job and they deserve proper protection for their health, safety and welfare while at work. They must be provided with proper instruction and training, supervision, guidance and equipment to enable them to carry out their roles effectively and safely and to protect them from work-related illnesses and injuries, such as MSDs.

“They should also have proper training and safeguards in place to minimise the risk of violence and aggression while at work.

“Regular training courses for all staff and managers can be key in reducing these risks and ensuring that staff members are protected from harm.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to info@firstresponsetraining.com.