With the increasingly contagious nature of the Delta variant of COVID-19, wearing the correct, properly fitted Personal Protective Equipment is more important than ever. Unfortunately, the Government has failed to ensure that hospitals have adequate supplies of masks and the equipment and resources required to conduct fit-testing for all staff in a timely manner.
What Is Fit-Testing?
Fit testing is a procedure that ensures a P2/N95 mask correctly fits the face and shape of the wearer. Fit-testing is the only reliable way to ensure that a mask is working correctly as a piece of personal protective equipment and limiting the spread of COVID-19. If you have not been fit-tested, your mask may not be providing you with adequate protection from the virus.
What are my employer’s obligations?
Your employer has an obligation to ensure your health and safety at the workplace. Your employer should also conduct a fit-test to ensure that any mask supplied to you is the correct size and fit to work as intended.
What does this mean for me?
If you are working in an area where you could be exposed to a risk of contracting COVID-19, you need to be provided with the correct personal protective equipment, you need to be adequately instructed in its use, and you need to be fit tested to ensure that your mask fits properly.
If you have not been fit-tested or supplied with the correct personal protective equipment, and you are being asked to work in an area where there is a risk of exposure to COVID-19, you may be at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
You have the right to cease or refuse to carry out work in an area where you feel unsafe if you have a reasonable belief that your health or safety is at risk due to an imminent exposure to a hazard.
It’s never been more important to be part of your Union. Standing together keeps us safe and well-informed, and ensures that our voices are heard in the workplace. If you know someone who hasn’t yet joined the HSU, tell them to take the plunge today at www.hsu.asn.au/join or call 1300 478 679.