Health and safety postbag July 2020

Health & Safety Postbag

July 2020

FIAT DSA: Following the roll out of the new Fiat DSA and feedback from members it was acknowledged that a number of adjustments and amendments were required.

Crew Cab Seats: An issue surfaced in respect of adjusting the seating position in the crew cab to meet the needs of some taller staff and this has been addressed. The long grey bar on the cab bulkhead is to be reconfigured to a shorter bar as the current length is preventing the seat from being moved fully rearwards. The shorter bar will be utilised to mount the speakers centrally on the bulkhead.

A video has been produced which explains the correct procedure to be followed when adjusting the driving seat.

Personal Locker: A number of members raised their concerns that the storage locker in the rear patient saloon area provided for staff to secure their personal effects posed a barrier for members who are of shorter stature. It was noted that they have been standing on the rear facing seat in order to reach the locker which is not advisable and increases the risk of falling or damaging the seat covering.

It has been confirmed by the vehicle converter that the flat surface adjacent to and on the offside of the rear facing seat can be used as a step to assist these members in reaching the crew personal locker.

External Rear Step: The colour of the external rear step has been changed from black to bright yellow to make it more visible and easier to view in reduced light.

Emergency Sirens: Concerns had been raised that the sirens on the Fiat DSA are not loud enough and have cut off when approaching junctions or roundabouts, when most needed.

The sirens which have been installed are the same ones used by most emergency services and have been installed to produce the sound volume in line with the national criteria. However, when selected, the sound level for the initial seconds is slightly lower but this quickly increases to the required level. The sound level is repeated at every tone change, so if the crew repeatedly and continually “tap” the horn to change the tone, they will be preventing the louder sound from being produced.

The Trust has investigated concerns that the sirens fitted to the Fiat DSA have failed at crucial moments when driving under emergency road conditions. The investigation identified that if crews wanted to “skip” a tone and “double tapped” the horn it would respond by cancelling the sirens, which is what a double-tap is designed to do.

Crews are reminded that a single tap should be used to start and change tones while a double-tap should only be used to cancel the sirens.

Response Bag: Members are reminded that the current Response Bag has a set of shoulder straps and the recommended method of carrying the response bag is centrally on the back. It is acknowledged that at times it may be necessary to unsling the response bag due to limited space available to move through. A single carry handle is also provided on top of the bag to facilitate moving the bag when carried lower down when required.

The recommended method to lift the response bag onto your back is covered in the Trust Manual Handling book “Handle With Care” on Page 35 which all members of staff should have been provided with. The correct method of lifting the response bags should also have been demonstrated and practiced during training.

The maximum weight of the response bag (with the oxygen cylinder inside) is 13.5 Kg. It has been agreed that until the next generation of smaller & lighter response bags arrive, crews may remove the oxygen cylinder and carry it separately if they find 13.5 Kg too heavy; however it is their responsibility to replace the oxygen cylinder back inside the response bag at the end of their shift.

Overloading the response bag with additional kit “just in case” is not advocated and only serves to increase the weight of the response bag.

LOM / EIV Vehicles: Progress has been made in the development of the Managers LOM vehicle and Early Intervention Vehicles. Both models will be based on a Volkswagen Transporter chassis similar to those used by HART and outwardly will look the same with light bars, high visibility livery and safety chevrons on the rear door.

The interiors will differ because the LOM vehicle will also be configured to become an incident management facility with additional equipment to provide clinical back and also welfare support for ambulance crews as and when required.

The EIV interior will be configured to enable the crew to carry out their roles across the Trust region providing their much-needed service in support of patients who are at risk of falls, Mental Health concerns and providing intervention & support where a DSA is not needed.

Security Awareness: Members are reminded of the need to ensure their vehicle is locked when left unattended even at hospital to prevent unauthorised access or theft of items. When leaving buildings, we should ensure that the door closes fully and is not left open, inviting unauthorised access. This includes garage doors.

Driver Fatigue: Members are reminded that if they are a long distance from their base station at the end of their shift and are too tired to drive back, they can request to be retrieved to ensure they are returned safely.

Jeff Pittman

East of England Ambulance

Unison Health & Safety Officer