The HSE issued its second email in 24 hours in regards to Face-fitting requirements for RPE.
However the current issues facing FM providers and essential construction related trades include how best to continue to provide vital support services while not being able to procure supplies or rely solely on equipment such as RPE and PPE.
PPE including RPE is a the last control measure, in the hierarchy of risk controls.
We understand the pressures that face key companies or teams to adhere to contractually agreed programmes and maintain critical services even in the face of the current pandemic, despite the most recent Government guidelines to work from home (where at all possible) and maintain social distancing. Estates facilities management teams and associated related trades, must continue to provide their vital services for as long as possible, while ensuring that operatives and their families are as safeguarded as far as reasonably practicable.
For key workers at this time such as essential Estates/NHS Services/Data centers and all other vital FM providers, a quick reminder that generally PPE and RPE are to be considered the last measures of defence. In the case of the current pandemic they carry their own risks such as changing filters, face-fitting, re-using and cleaning and visibility to do critical operations are all issues which must also be considered before you allocate RPE.
Additional cleaning and hygiene procedures must be applied to all kit, and if need be disposable coveralls and nitrile gloves may well be the most vital PPE to consider at this time depending on the work you are tasked with.
The best means of defence at this time for these workers and construction workers in general, continue to be as follows:
At this time we urge all employers to continue to consider additional staff upskilling, training and advance resource-planning to be able to continue in the event that core teams become severely affected.