Assessing and managing risk with people with physical disabilities: The development of a safety checklist

Brian J Taylor, Carolyn McKeown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
200 Downloads (Pure)


Assessing risk with adults with physical disabilities who receive social care services is a task at the confluence of three perspectives on risk: the rights and choices of clients, the role and task of the social worker, and the responsibilities of the service provider organisation in managing risk. The purpose of this article is to articulate and contextualise some of these issues of risk and risk taking when people receive social care services. The tensions between client concerns and organisational risk management perspectives are illustrated by drawing on a project to engage clients in jointly assessing their risks with social workers, undertaken with teams in the Physical Health and Disability Programme of Care in a Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland in 2010. In this article we show how a risk discourse can be a useful aspect of the dealings between social workers and clients, whilst locating this within the risk regulation framework for managing risk within which health and social care services operate. We argue that incorporating both client perceptions of risk taking and organisational risk management provides a balanced approach more likely to be effective than championing one at the expense of the other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-175
JournalHealth, Risk and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Mar 2013


  • assessment
  • governance
  • physical disability
  • risk
  • safety
  • social work
  • Northern Ireland


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