Health care and social assistance

Key safety information for hospitals and medical services as well as social assistance services like child care and counselling.

  • hospitals
  • medical services
  • residential and aged care services
  • child care services
  • disabilities services
  • counselling services
  • adoption services
  • the operation of soup kitchens.

Top causes of injury

This industry has one of the highest rates of work-related injuries and illnesses reported each year. Workers may be exposed to a range of hazards depending on the services they provide, the location of the workplace, and the clients being cared for.

It is possible to reduce or prevent worker exposure to these hazards but due to the nature of the work, the significant level of face-to-face interactions in the work, and the varied workplaces staff function in, it will not be possible to eliminate all injuries and illnesses.

The top causes of injury include:

  • lifting people or moving beds and trolleys
  • slips, trips and falls involving stairs or falling over objects in high traffic areas
  • mental stress
  • occupational violence and aggression.

Common hazards

Interacting with the public presents specific hazards for workers, as does regular manual lifting and shift work.

Each workplace is different and you need to know what the hazards are in your business so you can assess the risk they pose. To help you get started, we’ve prepared information on how to identify hazards and manage the risks common to the health care and social assistance industry including:

Resources to help you

As the work health and safety regulator in NSW, we have a wide range of technical, business, management and support services to help you make our business safe.

Our 'resource' and 'hazard' libraries

Our resource library and hazard library is where you will find up-to-date information on managing hazards and risks as well as codes of practice.

We also have extensive information that will help you improve and review your risk management processes. This includes videos, checklists, training and supervisory information, and safety alerts.

SafeWork Australia also has a fact sheet on developing a hazardous chemicals register and the cytotoxic drugs and related waste risk management guide provides practical advice on the clinical handling of cytotoxic drugs and related waste

Our safety management resources

Our Safety starts here section has a range of essential resources including:

Our business resources

Our safety support services

If you employ fewer than 50 workers, you can book request a workplace advisory visit by one of our SafeWork inspectors who will help you identify hazards and develop risk management procedures.

Our mentor program, where other businesses work with you to improve safety in your workplace, is also a valuable addition to your risk management program.

You can call us on 13 10 50 at any time for assistance in finding the services you need quickly.

Keeping up to date

Get into the habit of checking our website twice a week for updates on your legislative obligations, on current incidents and prosecutions, for new safety tips and general health and safety information.

Link your business to our social media channels including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and never miss any of our news.

Subscribe to the SafeWork Wrap, our monthly newsletter, which contains safety tips, general information, industry updates, and news about our prosecutions and enforceable undertakings.

Subscribe to industry publications and join your industry group. For health care and community workers, these organisations may be useful:

For health care managers and service owners or directors the following organisations will provide information and assistance:


The NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and the NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (WHS Regulation) define the obligations both employers and workers have to health and safety in the workplace.

The WHS legislation is supported by our Compliance policy and prosecution guidelines, which supplements the National compliance and enforcement policy.

You can find a complete breakdown of business operations that fall within the administrative and support services industry from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

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