Health care and social assistance
Key safety information for workplaces including hospitals and medical services and social assistance services such as child care and counselling.
- medical services
- pathology and diagnostic imaging services
- allied health services
- other health care services
- residential care services
- child care services
- other social assistance services
Read about what we're doing to prevent injury and improve health outcomes:
Top causes of injury
This industry has one of the highest rates of work-related injuries and illnesses reported each year. It is the fastest growing industry in NSW, due to an ageing and growing population and increasing demand for child care, and home and community-based care.
The top causes of injury include:
- muscular stress
- falls on the same level
- harassment and bullying
- work pressure
The nature of the work, particularly caring for people, presents specific hazards for workers, as does working in an environment with high job demand, time pressures and often unique resourcing needs.
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:
- hazardous manual tasks
- hazardous chemicals
- slips, trips and falls
- transition of support from one service to another
- workplace bullying
- working in people's homes
Don't forget - you must notify blood, body substance and needlestick injuries.
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 your business safe.
Industry case studies
Keeping workers safe in the disability and out-of-home care sector.
Resource and hazard libraries
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
Safety management resources
Our Safety starts here section has a range of essential resources including:
- business must haves like emergency plans and first aid
- the basics for physical safety at work
- the basics for mental health at work
- Get Support at Work pocket guide specifically for workers and business in the health sector (see translated versions)
- Safety support
- Small business rebate
- Building a health and safety culture
- Consultation @ work
- Managing musculoskeletal disorder risks guide - hazardous manual tasks (non-clinical) in aged care
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
Check our website regularly for updates on your legislative obligations, current incidents and prosecutions, new safety tips and general health and safety information.
Subscribe to the SafeWork Wrap, our monthly newsletter, which contains safety tips, general information, industry updates, and news about prosecutions and enforceable undertakings.
Subscribe to industry publications and join your industry group. For health care and community workers, these organisations may be useful:
- Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA)
- Australian Medical Association NSW (AMA)
- Australian Salaried Medical Officers’ Federation (ASMOF)
- Australian Services Union (ASU) for social and community workers
- Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU)
- Health Services Union (HSU)
- NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA)
- NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN)
- Rural Doctors Association (NSW)
For health care managers and service owners or directors, the following organisations will provide information and assistance:
- Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA)
- Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA)
- Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA)
- Health Services Association of NSW (HSA NSW)
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.
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).