The Ways in which our own Health and Hygiene may Pose a Risk to Others   

Illness/Infectious diseases

If you have cold or flu symptoms (such a runny nose), an upset stomach or skin infections, you should speak to your manager before reporting for work. If you have diarrhoea or vomiting you should not attend work until you have been free from symptoms for 48 hours.

Some diseases e.g. many types of food poisoning may result in not being able to handle food for a period even after you feel well and some infections may result in a person not being allowed to handle food indefinitely e.g. where a person may be a carrier of a disease such as typhoid. Carriers of disease are usually someone who has an infection but either hasn’t noticed any symptoms or no longer has the symptoms but is still able to pass it on to someone. Typhoid is one such infection.

There can be serious consequences for a pregnant woman’s unborn child if the woman has contact with anyone who may infect her with Chickenpox or Rubella/German measles. This applies to women in the very early stages of pregnancy who may not be aware that they are pregnant as well as those who already are aware that they are pregnant. If the worker is pregnant or is seeking to become pregnant adjustments may need to be made to her work to prevent her from being put at risk of infection and/or others dangers to health.


Your clothes can become contaminated with harmful microorganisms. Disposable aprons and over-sleeves should be used when handling anything contaminated with body fluids to protect clothes from contamination. Changing your clothes daily reduces the risk of remaining contaminants being spread to the individuals you provide support for. Uniforms or work clothing should be washed on a hot wash, then tumble-dried or hot ironed, to kill any bacteria present.

Skin Health

Micro organisms can live on the skin. The number of pathogens increases when skin is damaged. All cuts should be covered with a waterproof dressing. Using hand cream, good quality paper towels and soaps can help to protect the skin.

Good Hand Hygiene

Having good hand hygiene and not touching areas that can be a source of pathogens more than you need to. These areas include your nose, hair and mouth, and not biting nails. This also applies to work practices such as using foot operated bins rather than lifting bin lids with your hands.


Staff need to ensure that their immunisations are up to date in line with the UK vaccination schedule as these will help to protect you and others.

Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene is extremely important for people who take care of others. Daily washing, showering or bathing will remove most of the microorganisms on your skin. Hand hygiene is also extremely important. Fingernails should be kept short. Rings (apart from plain wedding bands), wristwatches or bracelets should not be worn as they can make hand washing less effective.

Personal Items

Other personal items such as, false teeth, hearing aids, spectacles, combs and equipment for nail care should be regarded as personal items and not be shared again due to the potential for infection. There are risks associated with wearing other people’s clothes if they have not been properly cleaned. Shoes may transmit infections if they are worn by more than one person. Items such as cutlery, crockery, bedding and towels should be washed at a high temperature and/or sterilised before being reused.

Items used by one person to address their personal hygiene needs should never be used by someone else. A care worker would put someone at considerable risk if they were to provide a shaver or razor (whether electrically operated or not) which has been used by another person, as blood borne infections may be transmitted this way.

Service users who engage in sharing items with other service users need to have the risks of doing this explained to them so they are making an informed decision about it.


Some animals can carry disease e.g. reptiles and amphibians, such as tortoises, terrapins and frogs can carry salmonella and strict hygiene must be followed wherever any animals (including fish, birds and reptiles as well as mammals) have been, are or are likely to have been present.

Tiredness – Can affect the way we think and behave and our ability to do our job (including driving)

Parasites – Head lice, fleas, lice and scabies can be passed on from person to person. Measures can be put in place to prevent this.

State of Mind

Stress, anxiety, depression, other mental ill health, whether work related or not and the effects of bereavement can have an impact on the way we do our job and behave towards others. They do not necessarily prevent us from earning our living or going to work but our employer might need to make adjustments in order to minimise any risks to ourselves or others. Employers need to recognise that they have a responsibility towards their employees and that sometimes difficulties in their private life as well as from work need to be accounted for e.g. bereavement or the effects of a divorce or workplace bullying can all have an impact on the person’s performance and outputs.

Our Own Physical Long-Term Health Conditions, Allergies and any Disabilities

These may not prevent us from doing our job but we may need to flag these up in relation to; risk assessment, our individual needs with regards to the tasks we do, the equipment we may need and the procedures we need to follow to prevent ourselves and others being damaged. For example, someone with a back condition may put themselves and others at risk if they do not have their related work tasks properly risk assessed and managed.


Care Workers employed by Active are forbidden to smoke in the presence of Clients and at least an hour before their shift. They are also not permitted to smoke even if Clients give permission.

Clients are asked not to smoke in the presence of Active’s Care Workers.

Any employee who fails to obey the smoking rules will be warned as to the consequences of continued transgression and may be subject to disciplinary action. Continued transgression may lead to dismissal.

Smoking is banned in public places such as restaurants because of the risks it poses to people’s health.

Carelessness when smoking may also cause a fire risk.

Use and Misuse of Medicines, Drugs and other Substances

Some prescribed medication and some substances which people misuse (e.g. alcohol) have an impact on how we function. Employees who take drugs or alcohol whilst at work place themselves and their fellow employees at a higher level of risk from hazards and hence injury.

In certain cases the use of alcohol and drugs in the workplace is illegal but it can also have an effect on the general health and safety of the workforce. The use of alcohol and drugs is not just a concern when it is happening within the workplace but also if drinking outside work hours impinges on performance when attending work.

Use to answer question 15.1c of the Care Certificate

Use to answer question 15.1c of the Care Certificate

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