Last week, cleaners at Westmead Hospital came together to fight for improved PPE to protect themselves and fellow members. With the threat of industrial action and strong media attention, management finally caved in to demands. While it should never have come to this, members in Environmental Services acted as one and got everything they asked for, including:
Option to wear protective booties and hair nets when working in COVID or ‘hot zones’.
All cleaners regularly working in a COVID or ‘hot zone’ will immediately be fit tested for the appropriate mask.
Members will no longer be allocated or required to work in COVID or ‘hot zones’ unless they have been fully vaccinated, fit tested for the appropriately and provide the PPE training.
Cleaners will have access and the option to shower at the completion of their shift prior to leaving the facility.
This is a resounding victory and shows just how powerful we can be when we stand together. Unfortunately, we are still hearing reports of individuals in management trying to create fear and division among members.
If any manager, supervisor or team leader asks you to work in a COVID or ‘hot zone’ and you haven’t been fit tested, fully vaccinated or PPE trained, you should say simply and in a polite manner:
“I am not refusing to do these tasks. However, I’m electing not to do an infectious clean in these areas as I’m currently not fit tested, fully vaccinated or trained in PPE. Once this has occurred and I’m confident, I will then work in these areas.”
If you feel obliged or forced to work in COVID or ‘hot zone’ areas without being fully protected or trained, please contact your delegates HSU Organiser via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0425 181 361. We will have no hesitation in taking whatever action required to protect our members.