Working conditions

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This factor measures the nature, level, frequency and duration of demands arising from inevitably adverse environmental conditions (such as inclement weather, extreme heat/cold, smells, noise, and fumes) and hazards, which are unavoidable (even with the strictest health and safety controls), such as road traffic accidents, spills of harmful chemicals, aggressive behaviour of patients, clients, relatives, carers.

Level 1:   Exposure to unpleasant working conditions or hazards is rare.
Level 2:   (a) Occasional exposure to unpleasant working conditions, or
(b) occasional requirement to use road transportation in emergency situations, or
(c) frequent requirement to use road transportation, or
(d) frequent requirement to work outdoors, or
(e) requirement to use Visual Display Unit equipment more or less continuously on most days.
Level 3:   (a) Frequent exposure to unpleasant working conditions, or
(b) occasional exposure to highly unpleasant working conditions.
Level 4:   (a) Some exposure to hazards, or
(b) frequent exposure to highly unpleasant working conditions.
Level 5:   Considerable exposure to hazards

Definitions and notes: 


Exposure to unpleasant working conditions is rare (level 1)
is appropriate where exposure to unpleasant working conditions occurs on average less than three times a month.

Unpleasant working conditions (levels 1 to 3) includes direct exposure to dirt, dust, smell, noise, inclement weather and extreme temperatures, controlled (by being contained or subject to health and safety regulations) chemicals/samples. Verbal aggression should also be treated as an unpleasant working condition. This level also includes being in the vicinity of, but not having to deal personally with, body fluids, foul linen, fleas, lice, noxious fumes (i.e. highly unpleasant working conditions if there is direct exposure).

Highly unpleasant working conditions (levels 3b to 4b) means direct contact with (in the sense of having to deal with, not just being in the vicinity of) uncontained body fluids, foul linen, fleas, lice, noxious fumes.

Some exposure to hazards (level 4a) is appropriate where there is scope for limiting or containing the risk (e.g. through panic alarms or personal support systems) such as accident and emergency departments and acute mental health wards.

Considerable exposure to hazards (level 5) is appropriate where there is exposure to hazards on all or most shifts and where the scope for controlling or containing the exposure is limited for example, emergency ambulance service work. This level does not apply in situations where potential hazards (chemicals, laboratory samples, electricity, radiation) are controlled through being contained or subject to specific health and safety regulations.

Rare means less than three times a month on average.

Occasional means three times a month or more on average.

Frequent means several times a week with several occurrences on each relevant shift.

Driving to and from work is not included.

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