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The Main Concerns of Your Domestic Helper’s Work Safety

Your domestic helper's, or actually anyone's, work safety while doing household chores is often neglected. However, there are many hidden dangers such as robberies, falling from heights, electric shocks that can happen to your domestic helper, especially when she is alone at home. Therefore, while hiring a domestic helper, make sure that you can guarantee her work safety by giving her instructions to deal with some hazardous situations and providing her with safety equipment.

The difference in the working environment

The first obvious difference is that in Hong Kong almost everyone lives in a high-rise building, while the ' houses at home might only have one or two floors. At home, they might be accustomed to standing on the window ledge to clean the exterior of the windows because the floor is not high. In Hong Kong, you might live on the 30th floor and this practice she is used to at home becomes totally unacceptable.

Secondly, in her village everyone knows one another, but in Hong Kong, robberies happen and your domestic helper might not be able to notice that when she lets people into the house.

Thirdly, she might not be used to using electrical appliances and might lack common knowledge such as she should never touch them with wet hands. The lack of knowledge due to a different background she is coming from might cause danger to your domestic helper. Therefore, as a good employer, you must inform your domestic helper of all the potential dangers she can be exposed to and tell her how to avoid them.

#1 Avoid falling from heights accidents

There are some things you could do for your domestic helper to ensure her safety:

  • Install window grills to prevent her from falling out of the window;
  • Do not require her to clean the exterior of the windows;
  • Provide her with a mop for her to clean the exterior of the windows (make sure the mop does not fall out of her hand!).

There are some things you should ask her to look out for:

  • Never clean the exterior of the window without letting you know;
  • Never stand on the window ledges;
  • Never exert her body weight on the window or window frame.

#2 Looking out for home security

There are some things you could do for your domestic helper to ensure her safety and your home security:

  • Install a metal chain attaching the doorknob to the door frame so she could open a gap to talk to the person at the door without letting the person into the house entirely;
  • Inform her when you know that there will be visitors or deliveries during the day when you are not here, so she would know when to open the door and when not to.

There are some things you should ask her to look out for:

  • Always check if they are in uniform or have an identity card if someone comes to the house and claims that he/she is from the government or the police;
  • Ask who he/she is delivering to if someone turns up at the door to deliver something;
  • Make sure all doors and windows are locked no matter whether she is in the house or outside;
  • Never leave the key in the keyhole regardless of whether she is just out of the house for a short time.

#3 Using electrical appliances with care

There are some things you could do for your domestic helper to ensure her safety:

  • Make sure that all the electrical appliances are properly maintained, for example, no wires are exposed;
  • Teach her how to use all the electrical appliances;
  • Although gas stoves are not electrical, check regularly according to government requirements the security of LPG cylinders, gas stoves, gas water heater, etc.

There are some things you should ask her to look out for:

  • Never touch electrical appliances with wet hands;
  • Never insert her finger or metals into the socket;
  • Never connect too many electrical appliances to one extension cord;
  • Identify when there might be a leak of LPG and what she should do in response.

#4 Other work safety issues

  • While moving heavy objects, she should squat instead of bending her back so she would not hurt her back.
  • While dealing with animals, she should be able to look out for signs when animals are under distress, such as dogs will show their teeth and rabbits will make noises. She should avoid tending to them if she sees such signs, to avoid being bitten.
  • While going out for grocery shopping or taking children to school, road safety is important. You should tell her that she should never cross the road when red lights are showing. In her home country, traffic lights might not be that common or they have learnt to ignore the traffic signals.

At last, you should provide her with an emergency number she can call and the addresses where she might find you at when you are not at home.

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