PA Safety and Risk Assessment Pro-forma

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    Faith Sanderson
    Keymaster

    PA Safety & Risk Assessment Pro-forma

    I believe you’re aware that here in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead our personal assistants currently on the SwC register are self employed workers. I have received a query regarding the provision of personal alarms to the PAs by us, the local authority. I suspect that, as self employed workers, the PAs would be expected to purchase this equipment themselves but I would like to know whether you have a particular viewpoint on this?

    Answer

    It is important that SWC are seen to support safe working practices and to promote personal safety at work. However all PA’s are self employed and it is their responsibility to equip themselves with the tools necessary to perform the service which they are offering. Therefore if a personal alarm is something that a PA deems necessary to support the service offered then the PA must purchase the same at his/her own expense.

    SWC could provide a ‘helpful hint’ that there are a number of phone apps which turns an ordinary mobile phone into an effective personal alarm without the need for entering of PIN numbers or phone unlocking. This useful link from the Suzy Lamplugh trust explains how these work and can be downloaded. http://www.suzylamplugh.org/personal-safety-tips/app-directory/

    Further comment

    The wider issue for SWC is – ‘ could a PA be at risk?’ – to which the answer is yes.

    Therefore what a local SWC could provide, and I believe should provide, is a risk assessment pro-forma which a PA can download and use to assess a work place prior to commencement or offer of service provision. The risk assessment should include a note of all people in the home and if the PA then feels there is potential risk to their person e.g. there is an occupant with a known history of being under the influence of alcohol – then this should be raised with the local SWC who may refer the matter to adult services for advice prior to any engagement by the potential PA.

    The taught use of basic risk assessments as part of PA training would be a useful tool. PA’s could be taught to use risk assessment as a good ‘excuse’ for seeing all around a property at an initial interview visit and enquiring about all occupants so that there are no nasty surprises on a first paid engagement. Also if retained on file for each client the risk assessment pro-forma could be used to support evidence of good practice in the event of an insurance claim.

    Heather Hunter

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