Legisaltions related to Infection, Prevention and Control

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Beena Ahmed

Kath Morris – Unit 39

Legislations relevant to infection prevention and control

There is a wealth of legislation designed to prevent and control the spread of infection. Legislations, regulations and procedures are written into organisational policies, which set out the organisation’s responsibilities in ensuring that the law is obeyed. All organisations that provide health and social care services are legally required to have infection control policies and procedures.

The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) states that “Employers are responsible for the health and safety of employees, workers from other organisations, and visitors while they are on the premises’ (Beryl Stretch, 2010).  The Health and Safety Act (1974) applies to anyone working with people whether it be employees, self-employed business owners, those on work experience, apprentices, volunteers, mobile workers or even homeworkers. It is the workers responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act is to take care of everyone who may be affected by their work. For example, workers should only do work that they have been trained to do (e.g. soiled laundry). They should also be use and store equipment and materials properly (e.g. cleaning products). Workers must also ensure they are working safely at all time (e.g. working with sharps). It is the workers responsibility to report any health and safety hazards to the appropriate person without any delay. Faulty equipment, safety signs that have been tampered with and infectious diseases and accidents (biological spills, sharp injuries) should be reported immediately. The Act also obliges workers to work closely with their employers to carry out their health and safety responsibilities. This includes following the workplace’s safe practice procedures at all times, not tampering with anything that has been provided for their health and safety, knowing what to do when in an emergency using PPE correctly.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1992) highlights what the employers are obliged to achieve under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Under the control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) employers are required to control substances that may be harmful to the health of their workers. Employers can promote this regulation by carrying out a thorough risk assessment before the setting is opened and updating regularly. They should also make sure there is a health and safety policy written for the setting and is easily accessible for everyone. The employer should also appoint someone to be responsible for health and safety. A record should be kept of all the accidents and incidents that have taken place in the setting and be kept safe. Employers can also promote this regulation by provide equipment and training in infection prevention and control, safe food handling, the correct use of equipment, working with hazardous materials and first aid. Employers should be providing workers with health and safety information, such and information on effective hand washing technique, colour coding for waste disposal and soiled laundry, management and immunisation requirements.

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Under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984 and the Public Health infection Diseases) Regulations 1988, doctors in England and Wales have a legal duty to notify an appropriate person at the local authority if they are aware that, or have cause to suspect that, a patient is suffering from a notifiable disease. If it appears to be a case of two or more cases of patients and/or staff with the same infection, for example, diarrhoea and vomiting within the same unit or team, an outbreak must be suspected. The Line Manager and Infection Control Team must be informed. ...

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