Diploma Health & Safety Handout 3: Hazardous Substances

You have been asked to prepare three hand outs for new staff attending an induction. The hand outs are to provide information on the following topics.

This hand out must include:

Cvi A description of:
a) The types of hazardous substances that may be found in social care settings.
b) The main points of the procedures for handling medication.

Cvii An explanation of:
 a) Safe practices for storing, using and disposing of hazardous substances, including medication, safely.
b) The dangers associated with not following safe practices.


for Inductees

This handout provides information to new staff about the importance of controlling hazardous substances.

Types of Hazardous Substances

There are several types of hazardous substances that may be found in a social care setting.

Medication may be beneficial to an individual but can be harmful if taken by others that have not been prescribed it, so it must be controlled.

Bodily fluids (urine, semen etc.) can be harmful to others, especially if it is from somebody with an illness or infection.

Some substances, such as bleach or paint, are toxic which means they are poisonous to humans. Other substances, such as detergent, can be an irritant which means it can cause itching soreness and discomfort.

Handling Medication

Medication should be handled in line with legislation and company policies and procedures.

Support staff should ensure that medication is ordered ahead of time and when received the name, dosage and amount should be recorded along with whom the medication is for. It should then be stored in a locked drawer or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Weekly drug stock checks should be performed.

When administering medication, it should be recorded on a MAR sheet. Hands should be washed thoroughly before administering medication and if direct contact is needed then gloves should be worn. The individual, medication, dosage, time and any special instructions should be checked before administration.

If medication is no longer required, it should be returned to the pharmacy and an inventory of what has been returned should be signed by the pharmacist.

Safe Practices

Hazardous substances should be stored, used and disposed of according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which can be found on the packaging.

They should only be stored in their correct and labelled containers, and ideally in a secure area.

You should always read the label before using a hazardous substance and some substances may only be used by someone with relevant training. Personal Protective Equipment should be used where necessary and substances should not be mixed.

Any problems should be reported immediately.


If safe practices are not followed correctly, it can result in serious harm, illness or death to yourself or others.

In addition, it would contravene legislation and company policies and procedures, which could lead to disciplinary action, dismissal and potential legal action against you.

It may also result in others using hazardous substances incorrectly.