Current and emerging occupational safety and health (OSH) issues in the healthcare sector, including home and community careKeywords:
This report gives an overview of the current and emerging OSH issues for health- and social care workers and how these affect their safety and health at work and influence the quality of care they provide. It combines a literature review and the responses received to a questionnaire sent to OSH experts in all Member States, therefore allowing the findings from the literature to be compared with those from the ‘front line’. The report highlights the challenges facing the sector, including shortages of skilled and experienced professionals, an ageing workforce, increased use of technology requiring new skills and the introduction of new care pathways to tackle multiple chronic conditions. The fact that people are living longer and increasingly needing long-term care shifts the emphasis from the controlled setting of acute hospital care to care in the community and people’s homes. The home care setting presents a particularly difficult work environment owing to small work spaces, lack of training, lone working, little or no supervision and having to face the same hazards as those encountered in, for example, hospitals but with insufficient measures in place to control the risks.