In-home support workers work in unregulated home environments with various social and environmental factors that put them at risk of physical and mental injury. Their life-enabling work is a vital services to our community.
We worked with WorkSafe to facilitate a community-led initiative to increase their safety, and they launched the Safe Support tool in January 2020. Take a look at Safe Support on the WorkSafe site.
Due to the variability of the in-home environments in which these workers operate, WorkSafe is unable to regulate safety in the same way as say a construction site or a hospital. In response to this call for a nuanced, preventative approach to safety, WorkSafe took a community-led approach.
Qualitative research was conducted with a diverse group of stakeholders to understand the structural and social forces impacting safety for in-home support workers. After mapping these systemic effects, we worked with groups in the in-home support community to imagine and co-design an intervention that could be collectively owned and upheld.
A solution called ‘Safe Support’ emerged by harnessing the insights, hopes, fears and ideas shared between members of in home support community. The collective ownership of the proposed solution was a necessary foundation from which greater impact and reach was enabled.
A systems map, insight report and animated stories from workers were developed to provide a foundation of knowledge for future safety interventions at WorkSafe.
The Safe Support initiative is building positive relationships between workers and clients, and creating an environment of respect, understanding and communication between different stakeholders. It serves as a guide to help individuals to openly share their needs and create boundaries, by starting conversations about safety before it becomes a problem.
The community led-approach is opening new doors for WorkSafe to have greater impact by creating community safeguards to reduce injury. It has led to the beginning of more community-led interventions and the piloting and implementation of additional concepts for injury prevention.
We’ve also written an article about this piece of work and the experience of in-home support workers, read it here.