WORKER SAFETY Click to advance the presentation HOW TO USE THIS PRESENTATION You should be seeing a window like the one shown below. Click the buttons at the lower left to advance the presentation. There is NO audio in this presentation Click here to advance the presentation Be sure to read the notes wherever they appear. Using this Presentation This self-paced presentation is part of an instructional sequence. (Click the step buttons at lower left to advance the presentation) 1. Complete this Presentation 2. Complete the Worker Safety Assignment (part of the Module 1 checklist) 3. Discuss the content with your supervisor as part of the Module 1 checklist, and with your coach, and cohort as applicable 3 Competencies SW122-01 Understands the provisions of agency policies, procedures, and formal protocols designed to ensure the safety of staff members Curricular competencies: • Awareness of potentially dangerous conditions in workplace and/or in the field • Ability to recognize potentially dangerous conditions in workplace and/or in the field • Ability to react appropriately and safely when faced with dangerous situations • Knows the emotional and behavioral indicators of escalating violence and potential dangerousness and safety strategies, including developing an exit plan to protect oneself during home visits Click Play to advance Why be Concerned about Worker Safety? Psychological or physical aggression Dangerous animals Driving hazards Trip or fall hazard Methamphetamine Why be Concerned about Worker Safety? Dangerous animals By learning about these hazards and how to Driving hazards prevent or protect yourself from Trip orthem, fall hazard you can keep yourself safe. Psychological or physical aggression Hazardous substances SELF AWARENESS • Boundaries / Limit setting behaviors • Communication • Feelings • Intuition • Problem solving skills • Conflict Management THINK ABOUT BOUNDARIES • What is acceptable behavior? • How to set limits • Maintaining limits BOUNDARIES • Boundaries set the tone for a professional relationship • Know your triggers • What would a reasonable person do? • Do you bend your rules? • Talk with your supervisor about limits COMMUNICATION Awareness of ALL communication • Verbal • Nonverbal • Paraverbal CHECK • Is it OK for a client to yell at me? • Is it OK for me to yell at a client? • Is it OK for a client to threaten me? • Is it OK for me to threaten a client? • Is it OK for a client to lie to me? • Is it OK for me to lie to a client? POWER Don’t get into a direct power struggle with an angry client. • Do not be defensive • Do not defend yourself or anyone else • Do not make the client show you that they must be respected; show them respect no matter what • Avoid putting clients in positions that embarrass them • Help them “Save face” rather than pushing for them to admit errors MESSENGERS OF INTUITION • Nagging feelings • Persistent thoughts • Sarcasm • Wonder • Anxiety • Curiosity • Hunches • Gut feelings • Doubt • Hesitation • Suspicion • Apprehension Personal Safety Risk Assessment One of the most effective interventions to ensure worker safety is to assess for safety before ever leaving the office. In fact CA Operations Manual 8612 mandates it. Click here to read the policy. Personal Safety Risk Assessment Before making client contact, staff will make ongoing assessments of situations based on the nature of the allegation(s) or changing case characteristics and risk factors. The following are issues for social workers and supervisors to consider before making field visits 1. Are firearms or other weapons noted in the referral or record? 2. Is there a previous history of domestic violence or other violent behavior towards others (this includes adults and youth)? 3. Is there a history of criminal activity, mental illness, substance abuse, and ritualistic abuse or cult practices? 4. Is the family's geographic location isolated or dangerous and is there cell phone coverage in that location? 5. Is the contact scheduled after normal working hours? 6. Are there aggressive animals on or near the premises? 7. Is there a "danger to worker" notification screen on the referral? 8. Is there lack of available information? Common Risk Factors Prior Violence Physical Risk Factors Defensive Feelings Situational Factors Assessing Worker Safety when DV is Present (Adapted from Domestic Violence Protocol, Massachusetts Department of Social Services) Crucial Learning to identify dangerous behavior Your involvement may: • Threaten the batterer’s control of the situation • Increase the risk to the family and to you Some Possible Behaviors of DV Perpetrators • Blaming everyone but self • Obsessive behavior - jealous, accusatory • Threatening suicide, violence, kidnapping, harming those who try to help • Stalking • Presenting as if he/she is the victim • Vengeful - may file for an injunction against the victim or sue for custody of the children • Powerful - may report having friends in positions of power (i.e., police, organized crime, wealthy individuals) • Paranoid/hypersensitive • Criminal record of violent offenses • Belligerent toward authority figures - including representatives of the agency • Current alcohol and drug abuse • Access to weapons Triggers which may cause a DV perpetrator to respond in a violent way: Mom is preparing to leave - i.e., shelter, injunction, separation, or divorce. Children are going to be removed - before, during, or after a hearing. Perpetrator has just been released from jail or is facing serious criminal charges or possible incarceration. Allegations have been made directly about him regarding child maltreatment or domestic violence (or both). He is asking for information about the family’s location if there has been a separation. Permanency plan goal changes to adoption. Planning for Worker Safety when Possible Risks are Identified CA policy mandates: If the initial assessment reveals possible risk to the staff person, the following may be considered to increase the safety of all parties: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Call upon law enforcement and/or another staff person for accompaniment. Carry a cell phone. Use a state car rather than personal vehicle (or visa versa). Carry personal safety equipment, such as a whistle or personal alarm. Conduct a criminal history check before making contact. Consult with other informal sources, such as local law enforcement, previous social workers, collateral contacts, coworkers or colleagues from other agencies. ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS • In the office • Making visits • Outdoor safety and travel OFFICE SAFETY • Arrange your office/meeting room so that no one sits between you and the door • Maintain physical distance • Ask yourself “Does my office/room have a calming effect?” • Avoid having pictures and personal items visable • Know your agency policy about visits Safety considerations when meeting with a potentially violent individual in the office: Avoid meeting with potentially violent individual alone. If possible, plan the visit at the local office, or take a colleague with you. Notify colleagues that a potentially dangerous client is coming in to meet with you. Tell them when and where you will meet. Whenever possible, use a meeting room with multiple exits, in case you need to leave quickly. • If possible, have security nearby. BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE OFFICE • Tell someone where you are going and when you will return • Obtain specific directions • Find out history • Know about any previous concerns • Try to conduct home visits in pairs, if possible • Bring your cell phone MAKING VISITS 1. 2. 3. 4. Parking and approaching residences Entering residences Residence awareness Exiting residences Safety considerations when meeting with a potentially violent individual in the field: Always make sure others are aware of your location when you are in the field. Avoid meeting with a person who is under the influence. Be aware of where you park the car, noting an exit plan. Park so that you will not be required to back up in order to leave the residence. Be prepared to leave quickly if needed. Have an adequate amount of gas in the car at all times. Know your office policy regarding vehicle safety, i.e. what to do in the event of a breakdown, flat tire, or other mechanical problem with the vehicle. Always lock the car, even when moving. Keep windows rolled up to the point where someone cannot put their arm inside the car. Lock your purse or other valuables in the trunk of the car. Safety considerations when meeting with a potentially violent individual in the field (Continued) Be aware of your surroundings. Is the area isolated? Are there unknown people or vehicles parked around the residence? Be aware of your attire. For example, wear shoes that you can move quickly in if necessary. Be cautious when wearing jewelry, scarves, ties, etc. that can be potentially grabbed, and where you may be harmed. Wear Department ID on breakaway lanyards. Carry as few items as possible on your person. When you knock on the door, listen to what may be going on at the residence. For example, is there fighting, crying, a dog barking, etc.? Stand to the side of the door, never directly in front of the door. Safety considerations when meeting with a potentially violent individual in the field (Continued) Do not enter a residence without being welcomed in by the occupants. Never enter a residence where no one has responded and the door is unlocked or ajar. Do not walk around the residence looking in windows when no one answers the door. Be aware of how to exit the client home once they have invited you in. If invited to sit, be aware of where you sit, so you do not sit on sharp or wet items. Always wash your hands once you leave a home visit. It may be helpful to carry prepackaged towelettes or anti-bacterial solution for use after a home visit. Be aware. Know which situations are the most likely to heighten risk factors, such as a Child Protection action where children are removed from their home. KEEPING SAFE INSIDE OF A HOME • Always wait to be invited to sit • Be aware of all possible exits in the house • Ask to turn the TV off, as “I” have trouble hearing. • Keep a clear path to the door. MAKING VISITS • Avoid positioning self so that you become trapped if needed to make a quick exit. • If situation escalates, LEAVE. • Always carry car keys in same place where they are readily accessible. METHAMPHETAMINE LABS No single sign indicates the presence of a meth lab Any combination of these might mean a deeper problem: • • • • • • • • • Strong chemical odor coming from house, garbage, or detached building. Visitors come and go throughout the day and night and stay for short periods of time. Extra efforts to cover windows or have extensive security, such as reinforced doors. Deterioration of property and excessive amounts of trash, such as large amounts of antifreeze, drain cleaner, and glass containers. Appear to have plenty of money but don't seem to go to work - drive expensive cars, pay rent or bills with cash. Never take trash out to be collected or put garbage in another neighbors collection area. Residents come outside to smoke cigarettes. Children and pets of the home appear to be neglected. Residents act unfriendly, paranoid, or appear secretive about their activities. Source: Washington State Department of Health METHAMPHETAMINE LABS CA Policy If you suspect a meth lab: • Exit the property • Call 911 to request law enforcement response If you may have been exposed: • Consult your physician within 2 hours of exposure WEAPONS • Assume that every home has a weapon • Assume that every client could access a weapon • Watch for signs of escalation • Know when to leave or request help. • Look for weapons when you are in someone else’s space. • Guns are often in bedroom, knives in kitchen • Never reach for a weapon Maintaining Safety Tool for minimizing violence Practice Model Genuine Empathetic Respectful If Conflict Escalates Situation may be escalated when you arrive May not be able to engage families in a way that avoids conflict VERBAL DEFUSING TECHNIQUES (IF NO WEAPONS PRESENT) • Most families are not a threat • Planning for your own safety promotes awareness and helps reduce fear, so we can focus on helping families TWO IMPORTANT THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND Practice before they are needed De-escalation techniques are abnormal Reasoning with an enraged person is not possible Must appear centered and calm even when frightened THREE PARTS TO BE MASTERED IN VERBAL DEESCALATION The worker’s demeanor Worker needs to be in control of him/herself Physical Stance De-escalation conversation No not stand close or directly in front of person Calmly bring the level of arousal down to baseline. DEFUSING TECHNIQUES If things escalate: • Kept it from escalating; try to stay calm and listen attentively; • Avoid sudden movements; • Avoid confrontation; • Maintain eye contact and personal space; DEFUSING More tips, for when things escalate: • • • • Keep situation in your control; Use calm tone of voice when speaking; Do not argue with the person; Discretely signal someone that you need help (try not to let angry client see this). Additional de-escalation strategies are available on the National Association of Social Workers website. ANIMAL HAZARDS Check for prior involvement or info on intake • Watch for clues • Be vigilant • Do not pet pets DEALING WITH DOGS Checking your surroundings • • • • • • • • • Site evaluation should be made for all homes Check for signs - bones, feces, dog dishes Be prepared - carry protection items Check conditions of the fences Make noise to alert the dog of your presence Evaluate strength of ropes and chains Respect dog's territory Dogs are VERY protective of children Have owner put the dog away DEALING WITH DOGS If knocked down WITHOUT protection: • Be still and calm • Protect head and necks with your fists • Wait until the dog leaves before getting up • Move slowly • Watch for the dog as you move 146869744 If knocked down WITH protection: • Let the dog bite your protection item • Hold on to the protection item until you are safe • When you are safe, let the dog take your protection item DEALING WITH DOGS If a dog starts to attack: • • • • • • • • • • • STOP!! Do not panic or scream Stand still, stay calm Say: "NO!" Speak in a firm voice Tell the dog: "GO HOME!" Keep hands around your neck Keep elbows close to body 92280236 No direct eye contact Wait until dog leaves you before you move away to safety Give the dog something to bite COMMUNICABLE DISEASES AND HEALTH HAZARDS • Know agency safety procedures • Hand washing is critical • Know when to protect yourself • Lice • Airborne & Fluid surface contamination OUTDOOR SAFETY AND TRAVEL • Driving conditions and weather • Knowledge of neighborhoods and safety • Car safety DRIVING HAZARDS • Keep fuel tank full • Leave valuables locked • Drive defensively SUMMARY: COMPETENCY REVIEW SW122-01 Understands the provisions of agency policies, procedures, and formal protocols designed to ensure the safety of staff members • Awareness of potentially dangerous conditions in workplace and/or in the field • Ability to recognize potentially dangerous conditions in workplace and/or in the field • Ability to react appropriately and safely when faced with dangerous situations • Knows the emotional and behavioral indicators of escalating violence and potential dangerousness and safety strategies, including developing an exit plan to protect oneself during home visits Thank You This session is now complete. Thank you for your time.