RPA Ward Assistants: Outcome of meeting regarding overfilled linen bags

Your HSU General Sub Branch President and Secretary today met with RPAH management to raise the issue of overfilled linen bags. The meeting was productive and the following actions were agreed to ensure that RPAH’s health and safety management system works to protect you from this all-too-common hazard.

  1. Regular Ward Assistant Monthly Meetings will be reinstated, with a 6-month schedule of meeting times to be announced shortly.
  2. RPAH management will arrange for Ward Assistant training in how to use the health and safety incident reporting system IMS+.
  3. RPAH management will review access to computer terminals, to ensure that all Ward Assistants have access to them, to enable reporting when overfilled linen bags are found. The HSU emphasised that, under reporting of this and other everyday health and safety hazards, occurs both due to a lack of computer access and work time to report.
  4. Your managers will also be reminded that, staff have a right on work time to report hazards and incidents, using the IMS+ system. In addition, if you see an overfilled linen bag, please take a photo of it and email with the date, time and ward or department details to the HSU at whs@hsu.asn.au, also including the IMS+ reporting number. If you have been unable to use the IMS+ reporting system, please also let the HSU know why.
  5. RPAH management will conduct additional auditing of linen bags.
  6. Nurses will be reminded that only 1 standard set of single bed clothes is to be placed in each linen bag. Such a linen bag load on average weighs 6.3 kilos, which is usually a safe lifting weight. Nurses will also be reminded that blankets are not to be rolled, as this can create space for the overfilling of linen bags.
  7. RPAH management will start a 3 ward trial of new stickers for linen skips, stating ‘One Bed per Bag’ to make the agreed limit constantly obvious.
  8. On the Level 2 HealthShare Linen Trolley collection area, it was reported that trolley overload was occurring. RPAH management will raise this with HealthShare. If you see this happening, please report it using IMS+ health and safety incident reporting system. Photo reporting via email whs@hsu.asn.au is also encouraged by the HSU.
  9. When Ward Assistants are not present, usually over weekends and public holidays, linen skip emptying does not always occur. RPAH management agreed that in these circumstances, nurses will be reminded to do this task, to prevent work overload for Ward Assistants.
  10. At the next Staff Consultative Committee, the HSU will be raising the non-back filling of leave taken by Ward Assistants. Which also regularly makes the linen bag issues worse.
  11. It was also agreed to meet again in two months’ time, to review progress on this important issue.