OSH Answers Fact Sheets
Easy-to-read, question-and-answer fact sheets covering a wide range of workplace health and safety topics, from hazards to diseases to ergonomics to workplace promotion. MORE ABOUT >
What does a caregiver/housekeeper do?
Caregivers, housekeepers, domestic workers and babysitters have similar functions in the workplace. Their general tasks may include the following:
- Kitchen work, including shopping for food, cooking and meal preparation.
- House cleaning, housekeeping, and washing dishes.
- Childcare, which may involve diaper changing, bathing and supervision.
- Elder care, which may involve bathing, companionship, and assistance with doctor visits.
What are some health and safety issues for caregivers and housekeepers?
There are several potential health and safety hazards associated with caregiving and housekeeping duties, including:
- Risk of illness or infection from changing diapers, performing first aid, etc.
- Exposure to chemicals in household cleaning products.
- Exposure to soiled linen.
- Working in awkward postures or performing repetitive tasks.
- Risk of pain or injury from lifting or carrying heavy loads.
- Slips, trips and falls.
- Working with sharp knives or other potentially hazardous tools.
- Risk of burns from ovens, deep fryers, and steam from pots.
- Fatigue and other health problems from shift work or long hours of work.
- Working alone.
- Workplace violence.
What are some preventive measures for a caregiver or housekeeper?
- Know potential hazards of your workplace and the activities you perform.
- Learn safe lifting techniques.
- Wash your hands frequently -- an important step in preventing infection.
- Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment for the task.
- Wear shoes with non-skid soles.
- Know emergency contact numbers and keep them immediately available.
What are some good general safe work practices?
- Practice safe lifting techniques.
- Follow or establish safety procedures for working alone, or for avoiding working alone wherever possible.
- Get current training on chemical hazards, WHMIS and MSDSs.
- Know basic and emergency first aid.
- Follow company safety rules.
- Know how to report hazards.
- Practice good housekeeping procedures.
Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.