Health & Safety Postbag
Paediatric Restraints: Training in the safe use of this new equipment is being conducted via on-line learning. If after completing this e-training you do not feel fully confident in its use it is recommended that you speak with your duty supervisor and obtain additional guidance.
Reversing Incidents: We have been made aware that a high number of our ambulances are being damaged whilst being reversed. To assist drivers during manoeuvers involving reversing, the Trust requires the second crew person to act as banksman to ensure that the area to the rear of the vehicle is clear of persons and obstructions. Standing directly behind the vehicle is dangerous and should not be attempted. When assisting the driver during reversing, the banksman should stand to the side near the vehicle rear end with clear vision of the area being reversed into.
Get Trained: The Provision and Use of Workplace Equipment Regulations places a requirement on employers to ensure that employees are trained in the safe use of equipment and machinery they may be expected to use in the work place. This is to prevent untrained employees from using equipment which they have not be trained in the safe use of in order to prevent untrained employees sustaining injury or causing injury to others. In essence “if you need to use a high pressure jet wash, make sure you get trained in its safe use, understand the risks and know how to use it safely”.
Slips Trips & Falls: There is a significant difference between the entry height of a car and an ambulance and because of this much has been written about the safest way to exit ambulances. “Facing Inwards” provides the employee with clear vision of where hands can secure a grip and where feet are being placed, in similar fashion to descending a step ladder. When exiting the front cab always ensure the seatbelt is clear of the arm and that clothing does not snag on fixtures or handles. The same technique should be applied when exiting via the rear patient saloon area steps. If there is a sloping ramp then it is generally accepted that it is safe to walk forwards.
Tyre Changes: When wheels have been removed to facilitate servicing or tyre changes the wheel nuts must be tightened to the manufacturers’ pressure using a torque wrench. A safety notice must be prominently attached in the crew cab stating “ This vehicle is required to cover 50K or 30 miles under normal road conditions after which the wheel nuts must be re-torqued to ensure they have not loosened”. Until the wheel nuts have been re-torqued the vehicle must not be used to respond under emergency road conditions.
Uniform: Members of staff are reminded to check the underside of their work footwear to ensure they have adequate tread and grip on the soles. This is particularly important as we approach the winter months with the risk of snow and ice. If the tread is getting worn down it is recommended that replacements are ordered well before they become “slicks”.
Additionally, Keeler jackets are being provided to ensure that members of staff have additional protection from wind and rain, but it is important that you make use of the “Try for Size” being offered so that the jacket you receive is the correct size.
Glass Drug Ampules: Unlike their plastic counterparts, glass vials have the risk that the user may cut themselves at the time of breaking off the top if they attempt it bare handed. The Trust has purchased a stock of ampule openers and there should be one in every drug bag / cannulation pack. Use of the opener reduces the risk of sharps injury, but where clinicians find there is no opener, an alternative (stop gap) method involves the use of swabs or similar to grip the ampule while the top is broken. The preferred method is the opener.
Drivers Responsibilities: Drivers are responsible for the condition of their vehicle and the security of their load. If the vehicle is defective or damaged then it must be recorded in the vehicle Defect Log Book and reported to the supervisor / manager. If the damage or defect renders the vehicle unusable or unsafe then it should not be driven on the highway. All persons carried or conveyed in the vehicle must comply with current seatbelt regulations and this includes ensuring that the side seats in the rear of the ambulance are facing forward when occupied.
Health & Safety Committee: The Trust has an active health and safety committee who meet at quarterly intervals. In support of the committee, the Health & Safety Working Group undertakes a lot of groundwork and investigation into issues raised by the main committee or by members of staff. The dates for next year’s meetings have been agreed and these are:
H&S committee: 9 January10 April3 July25 September
H&S Working Group:13 February8 May31 July23 October
Safety Representatives: Are you interested in becoming a safety rep’ at your place of work? Are you a member of Unison? If so, it is a simple step to get elected and Unison regularly runs training courses at various locations throughout the year. Elections (and re-elections) take place every December; however it is acceptable to be elected in the interim if you miss the main elections. For further information please visit our web site: EEAS-Unison.
Unison Health & Safety Officer
Unison Health & Safety Postbag September 2018