To ensure that hourly, regular, or project work in client’s homes do not pose a risk to health and safety by ensuring that any identified risks are acted upon as soon as possible.


Applies to all workers including staff, volunteers or contractors whether on a single or recurrent visit to a client’s home.

Risk Management

Hazard identification

A number of factors may influence your safety whilst on a home visit and may be assessed as follows:

Emotional factors
  • Client and family member’s history and other services history of that client
  • Client current behaviour
  • Likelihood of changes in client behaviour, health status, domestic, social and support networks
Physical factors
  • Substance abuse, access to weapons by client or by others on the premises
  • Presence of animals or vermin
  • Hazardous substances used in the home
  • Infectious diseases
  • Manual handling activities involved
  • Equipment and work environment
  • Heat/cold/confined spaces/noise/light/electricity/moving or falling objects
  • Threat of violence by client or others, including neighbours, relatives and pets.

Risk Management

  • A pre-visit phone call may be needed to confirm time/place and check safety for the initial visit.
  • A home visit assessment form relevant to the service to be provided is to be completed prior to commencing service or at time of first service. A client risk profile may also need to be completed. Routine reviews of this information should be undertaken.
  • Where practical, two workers should visit for the first assessment
  • Where applicable, the referring agency must provide relevant client history, including a past history of violence and any existence of an Apprehended Violence Order
  • In situations where safety is an issue, the client visit should take place at a neutral venue. This venue should not be an isolated place.

Safe Work Practice – General Principles

  • A mobile phone should be charged and kept on during a client visit. The phone should have a programmed emergency number.
  • Ensure vehicle has adequate petrol and is in safe work condition.
  • Upon arriving at the home check for unsafe situations such as uncontrolled pets, unexpected visitors, heated arguments and do not enter premises if you feel unsafe.
  • Any changes to the work or workplace where a hazard is identified should be reported verbally to supervisor and documented via a hazard report form and entered into communication/handover book if available.
  • If door is answered by an unfamiliar person check that the client is present and expecting your call before entering.
  • Maintain a level of professionalism and do not become over-involved with an issue.
  • Where appropriate the referral agency may participate in processes to resolve issues.
  • Workers should not give surnames, home phone numbers or home addresses to clients.
  • Carry identification such as a business card or ID card which has office contact details included but avoid providing surname on ID.
  • Where worker safety could be an issue, workers should park their car to allow for a quick exit and facing the direction of travel. It may be necessary to park some distance away.
  • If safety is an issue, workers may choose not to go to client’s home but provide support via the office where possible.
  • Avoid carrying valuables into the home whenever possible – consider use of a lanyard with car keys and mobile phone attached or carry in a pocket.
  • Minimise the manual handling of materials and utilise suitable equipment and lifting techniques where transport is required.
  • Workers should have an emergency code so that when ringing the office, appropriate back up can be given without alerting anyone listening to the worker making the call.
  • Workers should always leave an address where they will be visiting a client
  • Workers should always estimate the length of the visit and arrange to ring the office (or out of office hour contact number) on completion or to advise that extra time is required
  • Where workers are visiting a number of clients a schedule of visits should be provided so that they can be contacted and the worker should ring the office at the end of the shift or if problems arise.
  • If the worker feels unsafe, the worker must leave the situation. The worker always has the right to refuse to see a client.
  • Any incident must be recorded on the appropriate form even if considered minor and the visit has been completed as it may warn of future more serious problems.
  • Unless absolutely necessary, do not use a client’s phone; if ringing from the client’s phone, punch in other numbers after the call to ensure that a ‘recall’ facility cannot be used to trace the call.
  • In the client’s home, choose a safe place to sit. Be aware of access and egress of the premises and ensure exits are not locked.
  • Know where candles or a torch is kept if the power fails, especially if you work at night
  • Only undertake agreed work and refer any requests for other tasks to your supervisor
  • Request that clients do not smoke in the house during a visit and that animals are restrained.
  • Complete all file notes and reports at a suitable work area as per service agreement with client.
  • The worker should share any concerns about safety with their supervisor before leaving the office to meet the client. If necessary the worker may be accompanied by another worker. A contact person should remain available until the worker rings to report that he/she has left the situation.


Supervisors and Managers are to provide support, counselling and referral where appropriate in the event of a minor or major traumatic incident experienced by staff or volunteers. Any hazard or incident report must be actioned as soon as received.


Training in the areas of personal safety and the handling of difficult situations, such as aggressive clients, will be provided to staff and volunteers and in response to perceived needs. This training will cover, to varying degrees depending upon the needs and qualifications of staff and volunteers, issues highlighted in this procedure.