Case Study – PPE
Han works for a small parcel delivery company. His role involves handling many parcels each day, including loading them into his delivery van and delivering them to people’s homes and some business premises.
Han has raised concerns with his supervisor, Rita, that the surface of the parcels may be contaminated with COVID-19 and he is sometimes in close contact with other people when delivering the parcels. Pat wonders if he needs to wear gloves or a face mask.
Rita has also heard that it is possible for the COVID-19 virus to remain on different surfaces for different periods of time and this could lead to transmission. Rita wants to make sure that Han is not at risk of contracting COVID-19 because of his work. After reviewing public health advice, Rita learns that the chances of catching COVID-19 from packages is very low, so gloves may not be necessary, and physical distancing from customers is a better option than using a mask.
Rita tells Han about what she’s learned and they talk about what the company can do to reduce the risk to his health and safety. They put a procedure in place for ‘contactless delivery’, so Han can leave the parcel on the doorstep, knock on the door or call the receiver and then step back to the appropriate distance. They also ask clients to use their own pens to sign for the delivery, where this is necessary. Han agrees that this is a better option than wearing a mask, and as parcels are unlikely to transmit the virus he understands that he does not need to wear gloves either.
After speaking with Rita, Han is confident that if he maintains physical distancing and practices good hand hygiene, he can continue in his delivery role safely. As they get talking about work, Han opens up about the hours he’d been working to keep up. He hadn’t been taking scheduled breaks and was working later each night even after he should have signed off for the night. Rita thanks him for letting her know and assures Han he does not have to skip breaks and work late. In fact, it could put him at risk of serious injury if fatigue takes over. In her weekly email to drivers, Rita reiterates this safety message to everyone and invites drivers to contact her to discuss workloads and any safety concerns. That evening Rita also explores her options to recruit extra drivers to better manage the increased demand in the business.
Case Study – PPE
Matt and Cherie own and manage a removalist business. Following the latest government advice from the Department of Health, they have put in place a number of measures to protect their staff from the risks of COVID-19. This includes regular cleaning of vehicles, surfaces and equipment that come in contact with customers and their homes, practising good hand hygiene and physical distancing with staff and customers. Matt and Cherie also ask their customers to inform them if any resident is infected or is suspected to have COVID-19 as part of their quoting process prior to taking on the job.
Cherie checked the Australian government’s current health advice on PPE and noted that PPE such as disposable gloves and face masks are not required for in house service workers, provided other measures like physical distancing, cleaning and good hand hygiene measures are in place.
One of their workers asked if she could wear disposable gloves and a face mask that she had purchased during her shift. Cherie and Matt spoke with the worker about her concerns to better understand why she wants to wear this PPE. The workers said she is worried about handling objects which might be contaminated with COVID-19 and close contact with clients. They then considered whether PPE measures are appropriate to minimise the risk of workers being exposed to the COVID-19 virus. After reviewing government advice, they decided that wearing gloves and a mask is unlikely to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 during removal work as workers are asked to practice physical distancing, good hand hygiene and the risk of contracting COVID-19 through the surface of moving boxes is very low. However, they understood the worker was anxious and agreed to her using the additional PPE as she could still carry out her work.
Matt and Cherie talked to their workers about using additional PPE while working and encouraged them to talk to them if they have any questions or concerns about their health and safety. They made it clear that workers must familiarise themselves with how to correctly use and dispose of the PPE. They also provided special, sealed bins so that workers could dispose of used PPE and put up posters in the staffroom showing workers how to use the PPE correctly.