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This Policy defines the simple procedures and precautions to be taken by Care Staff when handling potentially hazardous substances at the service user’s home in the course of carrying out domestic tasks:



1. BASIC PRINCIPLES:


1.1 Hazardous substances to be found at a service user’s home, and which the Care Worker may be expected to handle, can be divided into 2 broad areas:


  • Commercial bleaching / scouring cleaning / laundering products.

  • Drugs & medicines.


1.2 All substances must be handled safely and in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Such instructions may usually be found on the container labels, and will relate to the following:


  • Safe handling and use of the product.

  • Safe storage of the product when not in use.


2. COMMERCIAL CLEANING AGENTS:


2.1 These products will include bleaches, scourers, disinfectants, detergents, washing-up liquids, and the more corrosive oven cleaners and drain cleaners.


2.2 Each product must be used specifically in accordance with the instructions on the label, using protective clothing wherever necessary (e.g. wearing gloves when using oven cleaners, etc). All C.O.S.H.H. Hazard Warnings, as depicted by the orange and black warning symbols, must be strictly observed.


2.3 Hazardous materials should NOT be stored in old lemonade bottles or other old food / drink containers, even if labelled as such by the service user. If these are found this must be brought to the attention of the service user and the dangers of inadvertent poisoning explained. Any examples of this must be noted in the Service User’s Records.


3. DRUGS & MEDICINES (See also Policy Series 3300 to 3399 - Management of Medicines):


Though the Care Worker will not be handling drugs themselves, apart from ensuring that medication is taken on time where this is part of the remit, care must be taken with the following:


3.1 All drugs and medicines must be stored in accordance with the instructions on the container labels. Particular care must be taken with drugs such as insulin and eye drops which require refrigerated storage.


3.2 All medicines must have clear and legible labels, and expiration dates must not be exceeded. If out-of-date drugs are found this must be brought to the service user’s attention and noted in the Service User’s Records. If necessary, arrangements should be made to return out-dated or unwanted drugs to the pharmacy (refer to Policy No 3303 - Medicines Policy - Safe Disposal of Unwanted or Out-of-Date Medicines).


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