09 Mar CHAS for healthcare providers – a useful guide
Here, in a nutshell, we explain the reasons behind healthcare providers becoming CHAS accredited and the policies and plans required to have in place before applying for your CHAS SCS assessment for your social care organisation.
What is CHAS?
CHAS (Contractor Health & Safety Assessment Scheme) is one of the most widely recognised health and safety accreditation schemes in the UK. By joining the scheme and becoming accredited, your healthcare organisation can demonstrate compliance with policies and legislation that minimise risk for both your service users and staff. Your management methods and records will be more effective and efficient, and your company will be able to show a drive to be more environmentally and socially responsible.
Since 2010, CHAS has offered a national Social Care Services (SCS) accreditation programme that aims to provide standardised assessment criteria for all care providers with the aim to improve general standards of service and safety within the industry. Once proof of compliance is managed and recorded, an organisation can be assessed and annually reviewed by a single CHAS assessment body.
Which health and social care providers find CHAS beneficial?
The simple answer is that all health and social care providers can benefit from being CHAS accredited. That includes residential and nursing care for the elderly, day care for children, mental health care, supported and independent living care, domiciliary care and physical and learning disability care support.
Health and social care is a diverse sector which spans all age groups, entails care in workplaces, homes, organisations and communities, and can involve hazards for both the care users and employees alike. So, when it comes to assessing risk, each individual site must make their own detailed assessment depending on their specific work environment. Having a template to work to, as CHAS provides, can make this process much easier to manage. And, once accredited, there are many additional benefits too.
Why become CHAS accredited?
More often than not, the individual using a care or health service is vulnerable or at risk. By becoming CHAS accredited, your organisation can show that you take your responsibility of looking after people in your care very seriously. This might entail having basics in place, like adequate first aid provision and effective fire and evacuation systems. But it also includes more individualised care plans, where the specific needs of each individual user are assessed, monitored and reported on.
Similarly, CHAS supports organisations in protecting their employees from injury and risk, and encourages communication between management and staff. The aim is to keep employees safe and happy in their work environment. Examples of standards assessed by CHAS include methods of lifting / moving patients in your care as well as guidance on managing, maintaining and recording the testing of portable electrical equipment on site to make sure no one is hurt.
By being CHAS accredited your organisation may qualify for more work opportunities and new business. Prospective clients and subcontractors will be reassured that you have the knowledge, experience and training needed to effectively manage a wide range of risks in the workplace.
CHAS accreditation helps protect you from the risk of penalties and prosecution associated with non-compliance, and all this is achieved while you continue to improve your own standards.
What do I need to have in place to apply for CHAS accreditation?
To join CHAS you must pay their certification membership fee and then you will need to have certain documents, policies and plans in place to complete your application for accreditation. CHAS has streamlined the pre-qualification phase with some simple questionnaires that assess your compliance and minimise the need for repetition on annual renewal. All the same, the list, details and language relating to the policies required before applying can be daunting and off-putting.
Some of the main documents you’ll need to prepare:
- Employee Liability Insurance.
- Public Liability Insurance.
- Health and Safety Policy Statement including a declaration of intent, a description of how duties are assigned within the organisation and how the policy will be reviewed, all signed by your CEO or equivalent.
- Declaration of any enforcement notices or prosecution served on the organisation in the last three years.
- A description of the sources used to acquire your health and safety information, including trade associations, publications, websites and newsletters.
- Proof that the organisation is carrying out internal and external monitoring, auditing and reviewing to inspect how effectively risks are being controlled and performance is being improved.
- Proof of legislative compliance support as and when required.
- Health Surveillance Report.
Some of the activities you’ll need to carry out:
Safety and maintenance of equipment:
- Record the appropriate maintenance, inspection and statutory testing of work equipment and provide clear instruction and training for all workers who use the equipment.
- Record the maintenance and testing of all portable electrical equipment used on site or in the user’s home including formal visual checks of the outside of the appliance looking for damage or irregularities.
- Implement procedures to ensure the safe handling of drugs and medicines used within a care organisation.
- Arrange for the safe storage, handling and transportation of clinical waste and hazardous substances like biological agents and sharps. Record appropriate training and health monitoring of staff where necessary.
Provisions, procedures and plans:
- Provide first aid personnel, supplies and equipment as required by the specific organisation and record appropriate information and training for workers.
- Undertake a fire risk assessment and plan for fire management and evacuation. Set out a defined emergency action plan for staff which is communicated and practised during recorded fire drills. Record the maintenance and inspection of all fire precautions, e.g., fire extinguishers.
- Carry out a risk assessment to ensure safe methods of working, such as when manually handling and moving patients to protect the health and safety of both the employee and patient. Another example is having a set procedure in place for any worker working from height to ensure their safety.
- Set up accident reporting in the workplace and investigate any incidents to ensure policies are improved accordingly.
- Maintain thorough records of all new and current staff training and ensure all staff are adequately trained to perform their specific roles.
- Record methods of involving and consulting with your own workforce, such as meetings and other methods of communication, when considering health and safety concerns.
Nearly CHAS …..
The journey looks complicated, although it doesn’t have to be. Once all the paperwork and records are in order and submitted, acceptance as a CHAS member can be completed within just a few weeks. Then all the effort will be worth it and your users and staff will benefit from minimalised risks. You, in turn, benefit from having clients who have greater confidence in your staff and organisation to deliver the best service and care possible.
If that still sounds like too much of a pain, here at KCS Compliance Services our staff are experienced and specialists in supporting you through the accreditation journey from start to finish.