Reviews
Subash Ludhra | Taylor and Francis

Common Sense Guide to Health and Safety for the Medical Professional

The latest in former IOSH president Subash Ludhra’s series of no-nonsense summary guides recognises that the healthcare sector presents special safety and health challenges. It is aimed at healthcare employees to give them the core health and safety knowledge they need, both to look after themselves and those in their care.

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The book’s modular structure follows the pattern and wording of the earlier Common Sense Guide to Health and Safety at Work. There are sections on safety and health law and enforcement, accidents and incidents and proactive safety and health management. There is a comprehensive explanation of the front end (general duties) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and how it is enforced; a summary of more than ten of the key sets of regulations, clearly chosen to feature those on hazardous substances, personal protective equipment and electricity that apply in many workplaces; some detailed thoughts on what causes accidents and how to prevent them; and a precis of some of the key principles of prevention.

But Ludhra makes this sector-specific by adding healthcare case snippets and a new module on infection control, sharps and other care issues. This alone adds about one-third more content, making the book good value.

The guide is presented in an easy-to-read format, with a nice open layout, lots of photos and a large type size. Each section ends with self-assessment questions, there’s a handy glossary and, if you’re the sort of person who likes certificates, you can do a 30-question test at the end (40 minutes are allowed), send it back to the publisher and receive a certificate – assuming you reach the 75% pass mark.

Unfortunately, the text is sometimes misleading. Three-day absence injuries do not have to be reported to the enforcing authority (contrary to the advice on page 130), and to call Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors “factory inspectors” is outdated and confusing.

And there are other statements, especially in the more generic sections, that are true but that jar in a healthcare context. For example, “high noise levels in a factory can damage your hearing” and “a poor safety reputation could cost your employer’s business dearly”.

The book does cover the regulatory role of the Care Quality Commission (CQC). However, it overlooks the CQC’s agreement with the HSE, effective from April 2015, that for registered healthcare premises the commission rather than the executive will lead on any safety issue that affects patients and other service users.

Overall, this is a readable and well-presented guide that will help healthcare employees understand the basics of health and safety as they apply in their sector.

Taylor and Francis | Paperback £18.99

 

Paul Smith’s career spans enforcement, consultancy and the power industry. A former Health and Safety Executive inspector, he’s now a specialist writer on safety and health topics.

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