The 3 Rs: Respect, Responsibility, and Restraints

Do Restrictive Practices Help With Safety in the Workplace

Learn How Restrictive Practices Can Ensure Safety


Utilising restrictive practices can be complex and confronting, as they entail placing limitations on an individual’s freedom, movement, or actions. This can feel intrusive, and studies show it is ‘a contested and challenging area of practice,’ (Wiley).

Overall, the consensus is clear – these practices exist to ensure safety. However, the critical factor lies in approaching them with a respectful and ethical mindset, backed by the understanding that restrictive practices are only used as a last resort.

Whether you operate in healthcare, social care, public safety, or education, exposure to restrictive practices is likely an inevitable aspect of your work. However, you may have a few questions or hesitations surrounding them. At Resolution Education, we recognise the potential impact these practices have on an individual’s rights and dignity, as well as the toll on the employees implementing them. Therefore, our Restraint Training course adheres to established guidelines and regulations and aims to elevate employee competence with key knowledge and the development of practical skills that ensure the well-being of all involved.

As a dedicated employee, you may find it valuable to delve deeper into this topic. This blog post has been crafted to educate and provide insights into the safe and effective utilisation of restrictive practices, should a situation require them.

What Are Restrictive Practices?

By definition, “Restrictive practices involve the use of interventions and practices that have the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person with disability […] People with disability who display ‘challenging behaviour’ or ‘behaviours of concern’ may be subjected to restrictive practices in a variety of contexts, including supported accommodation and group homes; residential aged care facilities; mental health facilities; hospitals; prisons; and schools.” (Australian Law Reform Commission)

The purpose behind their application is to address challenging behaviours and uphold the safety of everyone involved, for example, if an individual was attempting to harm themselves or others then restrictive practices may be implemented.

These interventions, when deemed necessary, take various forms.

5 Types of Restrictive Practices

  • Physical Restraints: Entails physically restricting a person’s movement.
  • Chemical Restraints: Involves the use of medications to influence a person’s behaviour.
  • Mechanical Restraints: Involves the use of devices to prevent, restrict, or subdue a person’s movement.
  • Environmental Restraints: Involves modifying the environment to restrict a person’s access to specific areas or activities.
  • Seclusion: Involves isolating a person in a separate room or area.

What Are the Guidelines Around Restrictive Practices?

The intricate nature of restrictive practices requires a careful and ethical approach, acknowledging the inherent human rights concerns. Organisations have a responsibility to adhere to relevant laws and regulations when implementing these practices, using them sparingly. Such guidelines are in place to protect individual rights and to ensure that any use of restrictive practices is both lawful and closely monitored.

The guidelines around restrictive practices require that they are:

  • Only used in limited circumstances and always as a last resort
  • Only used for the shortest time possible
  • Only used when underpinned by a positive Behaviour Support Plan
  • The least restrictive response possible
  • Used for the purpose of safety for all involved

How Can We Also Prioritise the Well-Being of Employees?

Given the complexity of restrictive practices and the toll they can have on individuals, employees would benefit from robust support systems that can minimise distress and improve their confidence. Post-incident debriefing and regular check-ins serve as effective mechanisms for achieving this goal. Providing employees with a dedicated space to openly discuss incidents of restraints facilitates the processing and expression of emotions, thereby reducing psychosocial hazards and fostering overall well-being.

Furthermore, these regular check-ins offer a proactive approach to identifying signs of emotional or mental strain, enabling timely intervention and support. Engaging in discussions about specific incidents not only addresses immediate concerns but also opens avenues for refining processes. This collaborative effort may lead to strategic adjustments, such as revising staffing numbers to ensure a more manageable workload, sourcing quality resources and training for ongoing support and education, and recognising potential triggers or environmental hazards that could be reduced or removed to prevent future incidents.

By fostering an environment that encourages dialogue and continuous improvement, organisations can better protect the well-being of their employees as well as the individuals in need of restrictive practices.

Resolution Education’s Restraint Training

Ensuring the safety of employees and those they work with is paramount. Resolution Education’s specialised Restraint Training stands at the forefront. Tailored for a range of industries and scenarios, our program, conducted by experienced trainers, guarantees compliance with regulations, and places a strong emphasis on understanding and implementing non-punitive restraint techniques.

With customisable options from basic to intensive restraints, the training addresses the unique needs of each organisation. From compliance with legalities, prioritising situational awareness, effective communication skills, and safe restraint techniques, to post-incident processes, participants gain a comprehensive skill set.

Resolution Education will always train restraints as the utmost last resort and can provide the tools to your team to ensure that restraints are kept to a minimum.

By proactively reducing the need for restrictive practices and employing them safely when required, our training empowers participants to navigate challenging situations respectfully and confidently.

In Summary

Navigating the complexities of restrictive practices requires a clear understanding of the relevant limitations and regulations, as well as an ethical approach grounded in a positive Behaviour Support Plan. Mastering the proper use of restraints is crucial for maintaining safety in the workplace.

Resolution Education’s Restrictive Practices Training emerges as a proactive and specialised solution for professionals across a range of industries. Conducted by experienced trainers, the program equips employees with the confidence and skills needed in situations that call for restrictive practices.

If your team need to develop their understanding, skill, and approach to restrictive practices, then get in touch today. We are happy to customise a solution that meets your needs.

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