Workplace Report (June 2021)

Health & safety news

Health and care workers ‘need higher standard of PPE’

As the spread of new variants raises the prospect of a further wave of Covid cases, an alliance of trade unions and health professional bodies is demanding that health and care workers are provided with a higher standard of personal protective equipment (PPE), regardless of whether they are delivering an aerosol generating procedure (AGP).

“In other countries they have already been using higher-grade FFP3 masks for months and their death rates are accordingly much lower than the UK, where hundreds of health care professionals have died and tens of thousands have been off work at any one time,” said RCN nurses’ union professional lead Rose Gallagher.

The AGP Alliance was set up to ensure members receive the appropriate level of PPE to do their jobs safely and includes the Unite, GMB, CSP, HCSA and BDA health unions.

“It is simply currently not possible for hospitals to adequately ventilate all their indoor spaces, so appropriate masks are vital,” said AGP Alliance chair Dr Barry Jones. “Current guidance recommends only surgical masks for most health and care staff, but these are not designed to block aerosols and are clearly not sufficient.”

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