• robyn moses
    Anyone else at a loss as to how come people think a mask that leaves the barn door wide open will protect them? I know if I inhale on my vape don my mask and breath out normally I am instantly surrounded by a plume of vapor coming out through the mask mesh and its sides. Any how I am in the primary industries and I hear other workers in similar sectors in the industry are not coping with wearing a mask in a work environment that is wet and the work is physical, one such workplace has had staff pass out while wearing one. Trying to find the regs on this it seems to say essential workplace with customer service another says all essential business can anyone clarify. I would of thought we would have increased extraction/ventilation capabilities before issuing staff masks but in this tipsy turvey world that seems to have landed at health and safety door the hierarchy of controls before issuing mask seems to have gone by the way.
  • KeithH
    @robyn moses the WHO has information here WHO - masks

    I'm not defending the decision to implement social distancing, masks and contact tracing, but they are the easiest for the general public to relate to and apply.

    While the lack of engineering controls may have led to the current situation, merely because the authorities seldom mention this type of control (though it was mentioned in relation to cross contamination with air conditioning) what would we in the H&S profession recommend before relying primarily on PPE?

    Where reasonably practical, different methods of isolation and types of engineering controls could be/should be implemented in addition to PPE.

    Again my ramblings
  • Steve H

    Alert Level 4

    While at Alert Level 4 the use of face coverings is mandatory for all employees and customers at businesses and services that are open to the public. This includes supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations, hospitals and healthcare facilities.

    Face coverings remain mandatory:

    • on public transport and at departure points, eg, train stations, flights and bus stops
    • in taxi or ride-share vehicles (drivers and passengers).

    We encourage you to wear a face covering and keep 2 metres distance from others when leaving your home. Especially if it is difficult to maintain physical distance from others.

    Current exemptions for face coverings include for people aged under 12 or with illness, conditions or disabilities that make wearing them unsuitable.

    Continue to also practice these basic hygiene measures.

    • Keep your distance (2 metres in public) from other people.
    • Clean your hands often.
    • Sneeze and cough into your elbow.
    • Keep a track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen (use the NZ COVID Tracer App).

    More here from Worksafe

    Masks are intended to try and trap exhaled droplets from a carrier of the virus, and prevent anyone one not infected, from inhaling droplets, if the mask you are wearing isn't doing it's job maybe look at the fit, mask type and see what options exist if you need to wear one
  • robyn moses
    the use of face coverings is mandatory for all employees and customers at businesses and services that ]are open to the public? We are not open to the public. We have 150 staff on site are they then deemed public?
  • Steve H
    We are not open to the public.robyn moses

    Unless you are open to the public, up to your risk assessment whether masks are required. Depending on what you do and layout of premises, maybe a work bubble setup might make sense, so if a team member tests positive, then only their "work" bubble would be required to isolate
  • MattD2
    the legal requirements of when face covering are mandatory are included in COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order (No 9) 2021 (specifically 17A).
    The order doesn't include any statement of "premise open to the public" but the list of premises are basically those open to the public.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    Classic example of implementing a "knee-jerk" measure without properly assessing the hazrds, risks and full range of control options, as well as whether or not they can actually enforce control measures.

    I still remember attending an NZISM presentation by an NZTA employee a number of years ago, where he observed that NZ tends to implement regulatory requirements with a rather naiive expectation that making a law was going to immediately lead to changed behaviours and compliance - no thought given to whether or not the requirement could (or would) be consistently enforced. Just like common workplace safety requirements, what you ignore or don't enforce becomes the actual rule.:chin:
  • Stace
    I also work for an essential service that is not open to the public.
    Agree with Matt and Steve's comments.

    We have made it clear in our rules for all attending site to (among other covid and hygiene requirements):

    - wear a mask, "where practical" and any uncertainties around this to be directed to Operations Manager/Supervisors.
    - maintain a 2m physical distance from anyone else (at least) on site,
    - staff are to stay within their allocated work area to avoid unnecessary mingling.

    We also manage shifts to ensure no crossover during shift changes.

    This may or may not be helpful, depending on whether your business requires people to work closer than 2 meters apart, especially during physical exertion.
  • Cathy Knowsley
    PPE and "telling workers the rules" are both at the lower end of the risk management continuum in term of effectiveness.

    If you really need to keep people separate you might need to put some more robust infrastructure in place... physical barriers, engineering controls etc, with the PPE and "rules" overlaid to manage residue risk.
  • Steffan St Clair-Newman
    In order to operate under level 4 conditions, all our teams have to wear face-masks and yes we have had issues with certain types due to fogging up of glasses whilst wearing them, we are governed by what has been approved for use in areas where we cannot ensure team members do not get within 1m of each other and have had to purchase a large amount of N95/KN95/P2 variants and the biggest complaint so far is that its hurting in behind the ears, so we are trying different types to try and address this, along with correct fitting to try and avoid fogging up...we have had a massive buy in from the team
  • Jonathan Godfrey
    Several points need to be addressed:

    1) Vaping with your mask overloads it with material to be filtered out, resulting in that cloud. Masks are not designed with vapers/smokers in mind.

    2)Engineering solutions vs PPE: in this context, you would need to maintain pressure differentials between people such that each person was supplied with fresh air in such a manner as to prevent their air supply contaminating anyone else's air supply. This is not reasonably practicable, and thus an engineered solution is not considered. This is a situation where PPE actually comes out as the first port of call. I deal with similar situations daily in laboratories, and for standard bench work, PPE use the first defence. Under Covid Alert Levels 3 and 4, we wear masks in the laboratories as well as social distancing.

    3) Masks and Glasses: wear the mask high up the nose so it almost feels like it is under the eyes. This decreases the likelihood of fogging to near nil. I've used this technique for several decades. Some wearers will need to have fit testing and training on correct use.

    4) Fainting while wearing masks? The only known mechanism for this is where a person develops feelings of anxiety due to the increased resistance experienced when breathing through a filter and they hyperventilate. The mask itself does not prevent oxygen getting in or carbon dioxide getting out, irrespective of the activity levels of the wearer. This is established by measuring tissue oxygenation levels in people wearing and not wearing masks at varying levels of activity. Also of note is that there has never been a recorded case of any worker in a surgical theatre or indeed in any part of a hospital fainting while wearing a mask. There are also no reports from the supermarket distribution centres where their workers are physically active and wearing masks.

    Steve H has a good idea for those workplaces for which the mask mandate does not apply due to their not being public facing. I understand several places operate like this, including the supermarket distribution centres.
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