Unit of competency details

CHCFAM504C - Respond to and contain critical incidents (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
The Deleted usage recommendation was implemented on 13 June 2017 to describe training components that have no replacement. Enrolments in training components and statements of attainment or qualifications issued before 13 June 2017 are valid. For any components marked as deleted after 13 June 2017, the applicable transition/teach-out periods apply. For specific questions regarding the enrolment, delivery or issuance of a statement of attainment/qualification, please contact your training regulator.
DeletedDeleted from CHC Community Services07/Dec/2015
Supersedes and is equivalent to CHCFAM504B - Respond to and contain critical incidentsUnit updated in V4. ISC upgrade changes to remove references to old OHS legislation and replace with references to new WHS legislation. No change to competency outcome.06/May/2012

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 07/May/2012


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 090501 Social Work  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 090501 Social Work  02/Oct/2012 
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Modification History

Version 3

Version 4


CHCFAM504B Respond to and contain critical incidents

CHCFAM504C Respond to and contain critical incidents

Unit updated in V4.

ISC upgrade changes to remove references to old OHS legislation and replace with references to new WHS legislation. No change to competency outcome.

Unit Descriptor

Unit Descriptor 

This unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge required to manage situations that threaten the safety and security of clients, colleagues and others

Application of the Unit


The skills and knowledge described in this unit may apply to a range of situations in delivery of community services where safety and security of clients, colleagues and others may be threatened

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable


Not Applicable

Employability Skills Information

Employability Skills 

This unit contains Employability Skills

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements define the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

The Performance Criteria specify the level of performance required to demonstrate achievement of the Element. Terms in italics are elaborated in the Range Statement.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Identify and monitor indicators of potential incidents

1.1 Anticipate potential causes of incidents and harmful behaviour

1.2 Identify causes of incidents and assess these forrelevance to safety of those people in the work environment

1.3 Identify and provide information on potentialresponses to colleagues for action and support

2. Respond to incidents

2.1 Respond confidently and in accordance with organisation procedures

2.2 Request assistance clearly

2.3 Use security procedures and aids according to policy

2.4 Ensure individual responses promote calm and reassurance

2.5 Prioritise client safety

3. Contain incidents

3.1 Provide information designed to promote positive decision-making based on the relationship between actions and consequence

3.2 Use calm, confident and assertive communication to establish positive personal interaction and exchange information

3.3 Select response and action designed to minimise risk, prevent escalation and to preserve the safety and security of all involved

4. Minimise the impact of critical incidents

4.1 Administer assistance as necessary

4.2 Ensure procedures used to protect clients and others from endangering themselves or others, are consistent with legal, ethical and organisation requirements, and safety considerations

4.3 Ensure responses and emergency action give priority to the protection of individuals from severe harm

4.4 Promptly provide accurate and clear reports to the appropriate authority

4.5 Providedebriefing and support to clients and colleagues immediately following a crisis incident

4.6 Manage prevention of repeat incidents by review of clients continued involvement with the organisation and refer to other services where appropriate

4.7 Review and modify policy and procedures for response to critical incidents

Required Skills and Knowledge


This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge:

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

These include knowledge of:

  • Negotiation and conflict resolution strategies to be employed at times of crisis involving clients and colleagues
  • Knowledge and understanding is required of the workplace work health and safety (WHS) system sufficient to recognise situations affecting WHS and to take appropriate action to rectify the situation
  • Rights and responsibilities of workers and clients to ensure the safety of individuals in the workplace and in accordance with any duty of care requirements
  • Emergency procedures/protocols and how to access emergency services in the workplace
  • Team roles and responsibilities for reporting requirements
  • Worker responsibilities for child protection reporting and duty of care as result of crisis situations in the work environment
  • Code of conduct for workers of the organisation or professional membership and actions for responding to crisis
  • Aware of verbal and non-verbal presentation and responses in crisis response and management
  • Standard organisation procedures in case of hostile clients
  • Creative responses to workplace challenges at times of crisis
  • Aware of cultural variations in responding to situations and behaviours
  • Understand legal boundaries of interventions
  • Awareness of indicators of potential critical incidents and crisis
  • Appropriate contact procedures for emergency services as required

Essential skills:

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to:

  • Use communication skills to defuse hostile situations:
  • listening and understanding
  • speaking clearly and directly
  • interpreting the needs of internal and external clients of the organisation
  • negotiate responsively
  • persuade effectively
  • being appropriately assertive
  • empathising
  • Select communication skills for sensitive and effective approaches with both vulnerable and hostile adults and children in crisis situations
  • Manage and respond to hostile and aggressive behaviour in accordance with organisation policy and ensuring the safety of clients, colleagues and self
  • Undertake situational risk assessments of potential crisis events involving clients and/or colleagues
  • Undertake problem solving under pressure applying a range of strategies either individually or in a team environment
  • Resolve client concerns relative to workplace responsibilities
  • Implement appropriate corrective action as much as possible to eliminate risk
  • Correctly use safety and/or alarm systems is implemented where necessary
  • Accurately complete incident and hazards records to meet organisation and workplace safety requirements
  • Apply flexible and resourceful approaches to management of crisis situations involving vulnerable parties
  • Manage issues of threat or risk which may be associated with involuntary clients

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this unit of competency:

  • The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills
  • Observation of workplace performance is essential for assessment of this unit. however, simulated workplace assessment is acceptable
  • Consistency of performance should be demonstrated over the required range of situations relevant to the workplace
  • Where, for reasons of safety, space, or access to equipment and resources, assessment takes place away from the workplace, the assessment environment should represent workplace conditions as closely as possible

Access and equity considerations:

  • All workers in community services should be aware of access, equity and human rights issues in relation to their own area of work
  • All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment
  • In recognition of particular issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Context of and specific resources for assessment:

  • In cases where the learner does not have the opportunity to cover all relevant aspects in the work environment, the remainder should be assessed through realistic simulations, projects, previous relevant experience or oral questioning on 'What if?' scenarios
  • Assessment of this unit of competence will usually include observation of processes and procedures, oral and/or written questioning on essential knowledge and skills and consideration of required attitudes
  • Where performance is not directly observed and/or is required to be demonstrated over a period of time and/or in a number of workplace settings, any evidence should be authenticated by colleagues, supervisors, clients or other appropriate persons

Method of assessment:

  • Observation in the workplace where possible together with one or more of the following:
  • written assignments/projects or questioning should be used to assess knowledge
  • case study and scenario as a basis for discussion of issues and strategies to contribute to best practice
  • The assessment environment should not disadvantage the candidate
  • Assessment practices should take into account any relevant language or cultural issues related to Aboriginality, gender or language barriers other than English
  • Where the candidate has a disability, reasonable adjustment may be applied during assessment
  • Language and literacy demands of the assessment task should not be higher than those of the work role

Range Statement


The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Causes of incidents may include actions and events from:

  • Others which jeopardises the safety and well being of clients, colleagues and others with in the work environment
  • History of alleged or substantiated issues of child protection nature
  • History of domestic and family violence
  • Actual or potential violent behaviour
  • Incidents of self-harm and suicidal behaviour
  • Inappropriate expressions of intense anger and/or fear
  • Unauthorised entry to services
  • Hostage taking
  • Bomb threats to individuals and/or services
  • Threats of intimidation
  • Engaging hostile involuntary clients

Assess these for relevance to safety may include:

  • Obtaining information about individuals or group posing threats or hostility
  • Ensuring children and other vulnerable client groups are able to be easily and immediately removed from potential or real crisis situations
  • Determining the most appropriate and accessible escape exits in a crisis
  • Identifying the need for additional staff is required to ensure safety of individuals
  • Awareness of immediate environment and indicators of crisis situations as listed above.
  • Analysing communication exchanges and behaviours of clients to determine levels of risks

Information on potential responses may include:

  • Separating parties in conflict
  • Defusing strategies:
  • talking with individuals in a calm manner
  • modelling negotiation
  • empathising
  • adopting silence where appropriate
  • Engaging specialist service interventions, eg, mental health services, drug and alcohol services
  • Seeking emergency services, e.g. ambulance, fire or police services
  • Cultural support specialists, e.g. elders, ministers of religions
  • Using communication skills including:
  • listening and understanding
  • speaking clearly and directly
  • persuading effectively
  • being appropriately assertive
  • negotiating responsively

Assistance may include:

  • Contacting support for the client or colleague affected by the incident e.g. significant others, emergency services, other services providers
  • Facilitating referrals to other services
  • Assisting with writing incident reports
  • Assisting the client to exit real or potential risk situations

Reports may include:

  • Incident reports as determined by the organisations policies on critical incidents
  • Workplace Health and Safety reports relating to relevant legislation
  • Witness reports for legal action
  • Observational reports to contribute policy revision

Provide debriefing and support may include:

  • Ensuring colleagues and clients have opportunity to talk through a structured debriefing process individually or in team environment
  • Allowing workers to self select timeout when required to ensure effective practices following a critical incident
  • Assisting workers to access external support services post critical incidents
  • Providing a list of potential services for individuals to access appropriate debriefing
  • Monitoring and providing peer support to workers affected by critical incidents

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable