PPE: urgent update for members

'No member is expected to put their lives at risk because of a shortage of PPE'

Published: 20 April 2020 Health & safety

The SoR is acutely aware that there has been much concern over the weekend about the shortage of PPE and the delay to shipments which should have arrived on Sunday.
We want to remind all members that no one is expected to put their lives at risk because of a shortage of PPE. If a risk assessment demonstrates that you need PPE, then that should dictate its use, not availability.

To reiterate the advice provided to members previously:
The employer has a duty of care to staff under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which cannot be ignored or diluted. If the employer is not able to reduce the risk to the lowest that is reasonably possible by providing PPE, then there is no requirement on the staff to undertake that work. This applies to health care professionals and is, in fact, critical if the NHS is to function.

Risk assessment must include the 2m minimum safe distance that we are all instructed to maintain. When the two metre rule is included in risk assessments, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that PPE should be used for ALL patients unless they have been tested negative for Covid-19.

The Society of Radiographers continues to advise members, in the strongest possible terms, that they must be provided with the minimal appropriate PPE when dealing with all patients.

No members should be expected to put their life and the lives of their families at risk because of the lack of adequate protection. The lives of our members are as important as those of the patients they care for.

We are also concerned about the most recent government advice about re-use of PPE, particularly masks. Staff should not be expected to re-use PPE and that the World Health Organisation says, “No quality evidence is available to date on medical mask reprocessing and it is not advised.”

Go to the Covid-19 Infection control and PPE resources on the SCoR website.