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You have a duty of care to all those receiving care and support in your workplace. This means promoting well-being and making sure that people are kept safe from harm, abuse and injury.

Duty of care is a legal requirement, you cannot choose whether to accept it. It applies as soon as someone has care or treatment. Breaking this duty of care, for example through negligence, could result in legal action. There are many laws that we will cover in other videos that need to be followed and these include health and safety, infection control and manual handling acts and regulations.

The duty of care is also to other workers, for example, in a hospital, to doctors, nurses and healthcare support workers but also to caterers, cleaners and maintenance workers. If you are a home care worker you will often work alone in a variety of homes. Your duty of care is to each individual and to the other workers you come into contact within the community.

The duty of care is part of the code of conduct for healthcare support workers and adult social care workers in England and will most likely also be in your job description. The code of conduct tells you how you are expected to behave as a care worker. It is important that you have the knowledge and skills to act on your duty of care in your role but that you don’t work beyond it. 

 There are different regulations that are required in the workplace that relate to Duty of Care and these include:

  • The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • The Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999
  • RIDDOR 1999
  • COSHH 2002
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 or PUWER)

As part of your duty of care, you should pass on any concerns you have about well-being. Well-being could be defined as the positive way in which a person feels and thinks of themselves. Every employer has agreed on ways of working to respond to possible harmful situations which will include how to report any concerns. Concerns could be about anything from poor working conditions or equipment to untrained workers, as well as suspected abuse. In any situation, if you do not know what you should do, ask your manager. If you are working for a very small employer, ways of working may be passed on to you in a discussion.

Providing guidance about how to deal with abuse and violence or substance misuse or how to handle toxic substances or carry out risk assessments are all part of making sure that the duty of care is carried out. Fire drills agreed ways of handling medication as well as cooking and food storage are some of the routine ways that make sure that the duty of care is in place and will depend on your workplace.

  • Standard 3.1 - Learning Outcome 3.1a
  • Standard 3.1 - Learning Outcome 3.1b
  • Standard 3.1 - Learning Outcome 3.1c