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Personal Safety Blog

29 June 2016
 June 29, 2016
housing

Housing staff feel ‘less safe’ at work compared to last year

According to research undertaken by Inside Housing magazine in June 2016, one in four social housing workers feel less safe doing their job this year, compared to last year. Focusing on 41 housing associations and 198 Councils across the UK, the survey revealed that 20% of respondents do not believe that their employer does enough to protect them.

Frontline housing workers expressed their concern at the idea of landlords making savings by cutting staff numbers. 35% of respondents said that reducing staff numbers made it increasingly likely that they would work alone.

As outlined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), housing staff often face difficult or hostile situations, including having to deliver bad news to tenants such as evictions, working late at night, and exposure to potentially violent or aggressive members of the public, such as drug users. Working alone increases the vulnerability of employees performing these tasks.

Alarmingly, the Inside Housing results also revealed that as many as 10 Councils simply do not report or record assaults against housing staff, claiming there is often

25 May 2016
 May 25, 2016
Gavel

Ashleigh Ewing Ten Years On: Has Lone Working Changed?

Ten years ago, mental health worker Ashleigh Ewing was brutally killed whilst out working alone on behalf of her employer, Mental Health Matters (MHM). Ashleigh was stabbed 39 times by Ronald Dixon when she made a routine visit to his home in Heaton, Newcastle. Dixon, who had a long history of disturbing mental health problems, was locked-up in a secure hospital after admitting manslaughter.

In May 2013, a report by an independent panel concluded that a “more robust approach” to Dixon’s care, particularly from April 11, 2006, to the days leading up to Ashleigh’s death, would have resulted in a review as to how appropriate lone visits to Dixon’s home were.

22 year old graduate Ashleigh lost her life after being sent alone to Dixon’s home with a debtor’s letter ordering him to pay for a phone which he had smashed inside the property days earlier, to take the coins from inside.

Was it appropriate to send a young

16 May 2016
 May 16, 2016
summer

Coping in Extreme Heat

With a shortage of hot, sunny days in the UK, it is no wonder that their arrival is welcomed with open arms. Whilst basking in the sunshine is ideal for some, it is very important to recognise when enough heat is enough. High temperatures, especially for long periods of time carry serious health warnings.

Why is extreme heat a problem?

Very hot weather poses risks to anyone, including dehydration, overheating, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. It can also make heart and breathing problems worse, especially for the very young and the elderly. If you are taking certain medications such as those that control body temperate or sweating, you may wish to take extra precaution when temperatures are high.

8 Tips for keeping cool

The following tips are designed to prevent heat-related illness and help you keep cool and comfortable during hot summers days.

Drink plenty of fluids, regardless of how active you are going to be, avoiding high sugar content drinks – these can cause your body to lose more fluid.
Stay indoors if possible, especially during

3 May 2016
 May 3, 2016
Military Working Dogs

Animal Attacks – No Laughing Matter

The classic image of the dog chasing the postie can invoke whimsical and often humorous thoughts. It harks back to the days of the Beano or Dandy where the likes of Dennis the Menace’s dog, Gnasher would regularly torment visitors. These days, we’re more likely to laugh at videos on YouTube of Westies or Jack Russells tearing their way through the mail as it’s delivered.

However, with a rise in hospital admissions from dog attacks, often causing permanent disabling injuries, it’s no laughing matter.

According to official statistics, there has been a 76% rise in admissions over the past ten years in England. Last year alone, this equated to a staggering 7,227 incidents.

Lone working outreach nurses and postmen/women visiting people’s homes are prone to these attacks. Dave Joyce of the Communication Workers Union said: “Over 15,000 postal workers have been attacked by dogs over the last five years for simply doing their jobs.”

MPs also expressed their concern over dog attacks. Survey results revealed that politicians have faced similar assaults when

11 April 2016
 April 11, 2016
Nurse no background resize

1 in 8 Workers Face violence in the Workplace

According to research published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in February 2016, one in eight people are victims of violence in the workplace. Employees reported being pushed or punched or even spat on. In more extreme cases, some victims reported being stabbed.

The findings revealed that the healthcare sector experienced the highest number of violent incidents with 22% of workers reporting an encounter. Some may question whether the reported number of assaults is misleading when taking in to account those that go unreported.

Results from the NHS staff survey in March 2016 revealed that 40% of Newcastle NHS employees did not report violence they experienced in 2015. In contrast, Jane Sayer, Director of Nursing at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust believes her Trust, amongst others, has an open and honest culture with incidents reported accordingly, “We always encourage our staff to be proactive in regards to reporting any incidents.” She later added “We also believe that a high rate of reported incidents is a positive thing. It represents a culture of openness where staff feel they can raise

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