Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association is providing support and advice to any members seeking information regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Join the NSWNMA to ensure you’re covered at work.
The Commonwealth Department of Health website contains detailed guidance for health sector workers and is updated regularly.
If you are providing care for patients who have or are suspected to have COVID-19, your employer must provide you with appropriate PPE to ensure you can do your job safely. Such as:
- You are to wear prescribed PPE as instructed (your employer needs to ensure you are trained in how to use PPE safely).
- Do not undertake tasks requiring PPE if the PPE is not available for use. Any such tasks are not to proceed until required PPE is readily available.
- If you are concerned for your safety, you must raise your concerns immediately with your manager.
As of 25 March, NSW Health is implementing a statewide strategy to ensure all staff have the personal protective equipment needed to protect them at work. This includes:
- collaborating with the Federal Government to access the national medical stockpile
- seeking alternative supply chains
- expediting equipment orders since January
- working around the clock to secure and move stock into NSW to meet future needs
- pursuing all channels of existing supply, new supply and alternative supplies
- engaging new and existing manufacturing opportunities in Australia
- supporting local PPE stock management to maintain consistent standards across the system
- centralising ordering and management of incoming supplies to ensure appropriate and effective allocation of supplies across the state.
Further details to ensure the safety of NSW Health workers at all times and during the COVID-19 crisis, can be found here.
What PPE do I need at work for COVID-19?
This 11-page document provides detailed information about the application of PPE, but does not cover broader infection control issues. It’s a great resource for specific types of masks, gowns etc, that are appropriate when working with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients.
This flow chart, gives PPE guidance for patients within the Emergency Department.
Broader infection control guidance (with some PPE info included)
Hospital setting – this 9-page document looks more broadly at COVID-19 infection control in the hospital setting. It includes information about PPE (less detailed than the link above) but also provides information about things like environmental cleaning, linen and waste management.
Residential aged care – this 21-page document looks at COVID-19 infection control in residential aged care. It includes some information on PPE, but also information on what the organisation should do if one or more residents and/or staff have COVID-19, e.g. isolating, cohorting, visitor restrictions etc.
Primary and Community Care – this 6-page document looks at principles for infection control in primary and community settings, including details of PPE, cleaning etc.
The Australian Government has also published recommendations for the use of PPE when caring for people with possible COVID-19 infection.
Report PPE concerns
If you have concerns that your employer is not providing you with the necessary PPE (or is making it very difficult to access) and/or is not training people in its safe use, then you should:
- Put in an incident report at your workplace
- Escalate your concerns to your manager in writing and ask for an urgent response
If your concerns are not being taken seriously, we can assist to ensure appropriate measures are in place. Contact us here. You can also contact SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50.