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Westmead Oral Health WHS Concerns

Last week, several Dental Assistants contacted the Union regarding concerns about working in hot environments while undertaking dental procedures.

Members have reporting feeling dehydrated, nauseous and sweaty, as sometimes they are unable to leave their areas for over one and a half hours. 

These concerns have been compounded recently by the introduction of new safety processes around COVID-19, which resulted in a lack of airflow due to fans no longer being allowed in procedure rooms, the wearing of additional PPE to protect staff and patients, and staff no longer being able to bring a water bottle or similar into these areas.

While members appreciate the need for these added precautions, they are also entitled to a safe working environment.

Your HSU delegates and representatives have acted on members’ concerns and escalated them to Western Sydney LHD Management.

We have now been provided the below update on actions which have been taken since we first broached these issues with management:

  1. The WHS Unit have attended the Oral Health unit at Westmead for the purpose of inspection and consultation with staff in the area of concern.
  2. The Manager of Mechanical Services has attended to gain a better understanding of the air conditioning issues that Oral Health staff are experiencing.
  3. An air conditioning consultant is being arranged to provide diagnostic testing for the area, to determine the best course of action and work towards resolving issues.
  4. There are number of engineering options that are under consideration to try to diminish the heat during summer months. 

A further follow up meeting has been scheduled for early next week, at which we hope to agree on a long-term solution to the air conditioning issues within the Oral Health building, as well as some immediate fixes to ease members’ concerns. We will continue to provide updates to members via newsletters and on-site meetings. For more information, please speak to your delegates or contact local Organiser Brendan Roberts via brendan.roberts@hsu.asn.au or 0425 181 361.

With so much change and uncertainty at Westmead, it’s more important than ever to make sure you and your colleagues are protected by being part of the Union. If any of your colleagues are not yet protected, encourage them to join here or call 1300 478 679.