Use of PPE in Social Services

It is important to note that: 

  • To protect yourself and those you work with, you must follow basic hygiene measures at work and at home. This is still the best defence against COVID-19.
  • Basic hygiene measures for everyone includes; physical distancing, good hand hygiene, cough etiquette, regular cleaning of surfaces and frequently touched items, not touching the face, eyes, mouth and nose.
  • If a client has COVID-19, discuss with your local public health unit the best way to interact with the client.

When considering the need for PPE:

  • You should undertake a risk assessment by finding out about the health of your clients and their possible exposure to COVID-19. If visiting them, staff could phone ahead to ask them about this.
  • Consider the ability of your staff to maintain physical distancing and whether they might need to be in close contact with clients.
  • The Government’s guidance for COVID-19 Alert Level 3 is that most workers will not require PPE to stay safe at work. Incorrectly used PPE can create more risk.

In terms of using gloves:

  • Gloves are only required if a worker is having physical contact with a person and there is a risk of contact with body fluids, e.g. first aid.
  • Gloves, or hand sanitiser, can also be used if there is no access to handwashing facilities.

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