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Describe different types of accidents and sudden illnesses that may occur in own work setting


This page is designed to answer the following questions:

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There are several different types of accidents and sudden illnesses that may occur in a health and social care setting. It is useful to have a general idea about what could happen so that you can think about what you would do in that situation.


Accidents are unintended and unexpected incidents that result in injury or damage. Risk assessments should be performed to reduce the likelihood of them happening.

Some examples of workplace accidents are:

  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Burns and scalds
  • Electrocution
  • Lifting/carrying loads that are too heavy or using the incorrect technique
  • Incorrect use or malfunction of machinery
  • Cuts and skin piercings e.g. from knives, needles etc.

Sudden illnesses are when an individual gets poorly unexpectedly. You may work with individuals that have pre-existing conditions that can occur at any time – your employer should give you adequate training to handle such situations.


Some examples of sudden illnesses that may occur in the workplace are:

  • Epileptic seizure
  • Fainting
  • Nose bleeds
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (for example, repetitive strain injuries)
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Diabetic coma
  • Vomiting (e.g. from food poisoning)

It is also worth noting that the health and social care sector has one of the highest prevalence rates for work-related stress, depression and anxiety.

Example question and answer


Describe three types of accidents or sudden illnesses that may occur in social care settings.

Despite the best-laid plans and risk assessments, sometimes accidents and sudden illnesses do occur in a social care setting.


An individual may accidentally pour boiling water over their hand whilst making a cup of tea and scald their skin or not cook their food correctly and get food poisoning.  They may also trip and fall down the stairs or have a cardiac arrest or stroke.

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