A new Emergency Temporary Standard effective in the USA upgrades the protection of US healthcare workers fighting COVID-19. Now is the time for Australia to follow suit.
Leading respiratory designer and manufacturer CleanSpace Technology applauds the US Government’s commitment to protecting healthcare workers from COVID-19 and advocating the use of PAPRs over N95 masks.
In June, U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to protect healthcare workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19 in settings where workers are likely to have contact with someone infected with the virus.
The ETS mandates healthcare employers take certain precautions to prevent employee exposure to COVID-19. This includes using approved Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) or elastomeric respirators instead of disposable masks (i.e. N95) for pandemic preparedness for COVID-19.
CleanSpace CEO Dr Alex Birrell said OSHA’s ruling is an important demonstration of where governments are changing their guidelines to raise protection for frontline workers and strengthen national pandemic preparedness.
“This new Standard is a significant move by the Biden Administration to signal frontline workers require more advanced protection measures. We are very supportive of any measure that delivers improved protection for frontline workers and concur with OSHA’s findings that PAPRs provide superior protection compared to N95 masks, and offer greater supply chain security,” said Dr Birrell.
“It serves as a timely reminder to Australian healthcare and other essential workers – new technology is readily available, widely used in International markets and can immediately reduce exposure risk for Australian healthcare workers,” she said.
The company’s healthcare-specific respirator, CleanSpace HALO, is used in more than 700 hospitals globally and was recently awarded a tender from NSW Government. CleanSpace HALO played a defining role in Singapore’s Sengkang General Hospital’s zero healthcare worker infections during COVID-19.[i]
“Last year in Victoria alone, more than 2,500 healthcare workers tested positive to COVID-19. With Australia healthcare workers now testing positive to the Delta variant, we hope Biden’s actions is a wakeup call for the rest of Australia to better protect our healthcare workers,” she said.
Dr Birrell added, “As the only domestic respirator specialist company, we’re proud this Australian medical device technology can protect the lives of thousands of essential workers globally. Our respirators hold the highest levels of approval internationally, including TGA approval. If you are working with COVID-19, protection doesn’t get better than this – CleanSpace HALO offers 99.95% filtration. We remain committed to providing a reliable supply of the best possible protection for those on the frontline globally.”
[i] Koh, F. H., Tan, M. G., & Chew, M. H. (2020). The fight against COVID-19: disinfection protocol and turning over of CleanSpace® HALO™ in a Singapore Hospital. Updates in surgery, 72(2), 311–313. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13304-020-00809-3