January 2022 Update - Oh Well

January 2022 Update

OH Well have a highly dedicated team of qualified health professionals committed to providing a quality, friendly service to you, the clients.

January 2022 Update

After a relaxing and restorative break, OH Well is looking forward to 2022 and continuing our strong relationship with all our clients and suppliers. We will continue to work collaboratively to ensure your business receives the ongoing support and quality service required to maintain optimal occupational health and wellness for your staff.

The past two years have required us all to pivot our services and resources quickly and efficiently while responding to the ever-changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022 we aim to continue providing our services to all workers while maintaining the health and safety of all. We have reviewed our settings for the different traffic light levels following another risk assessment. Please note that we are now at the RED level of the traffic light system. To find out more about our updated traffic light settings please click the link.

Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) is now available and OH Well is pleased to offer this service. The screening test kits we are utilizing are PanbioTM COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device (Nasal). These will be used in conjunction with clinical observation (e.g temperature checks) and history taking. OH Well staff who will be undertaking this testing have received the necessary training and certification. Our staff will be wearing the required personal protective equipment (PPE) when testing to ensure not only their safety, but to meet strict infection prevention and control measures. For more information about the test kit click this link: PanbioTM COVID-19 Ag (nasal) Brochure

RAT can be used successfully as a screening tool and is more cost effective than PCR testing. Situations where it can be used are:

  • As a control measure to minimise the risks associated with asymptomatic, unvaccinated staff working in your workplace
  • Testing asymptomatic, unvaccinated staff prior to completing high risk health monitoring or testing e.g., spirometry testing, breath alcohol testing, qualitative/quantitative fit testing 
  • Testing asymptomatic staff suspected of recent exposure to COVID-19 

It is important to note that rapid antigen testing is not appropriate in the following circumstances:

  • If the employee has flu-like symptoms or symptoms associated with COVID-19
  • If the employee is a close or casual contact for COVID-19

Those staff should be directed immediately to a PCR testing site for confirmation of the screening test (Ministry of Health, 2021).

Our Process 

Each employee being tested will need to sign a consent form to undertake the test and allow us to notify the business should they return a positive screening result.  Should this occur, the employee must:

  • Self-isolate away from the workplace
  • Urgently book a standard COVID-19 PCR test to confirm the result
  • Follow all public health measures

If you are interested in enquiring about this service or have any questions, please contact Ingrid at ingrid@ohwell.co.nz 

Qualitative/Quantitative Fit Testing 

Fit testing is a requirement for employees who are required to wear fitted respiratory protection in their roles. This ensures the mask is the correct size and fit for the employee to ensure maximum protection. The testing also allows an opportunity to give the required training to the employee on the importance of being clean shaven and how to complete a mask self-test before entering an area or completing a task where respiratory hazards have been identified. Being clean shaven when using fitted respiratory protection can be a contentious issue with some staff. Ideally this requirement should be outlined in the individual contract and clearly identified as a mandated control measure following a thorough risk assessment aided by an occupational hygienist. We have found that the picture below is an excellent graphic demonstrating why correctly fitted respiratory protection is so important. The size of a single facial hair compared to the size of many respiratory irritant particles illustrates why being clean shaven is so important and necessary. 

It is important that employees are fit tested at employment or commencement of a job where respiratory protection has been mandated to minimise the respiratory risk. They should be re-tested again if there has been a change to facial structure through weight loss/gain/injury. Best practice is to complete fit testing annually (Standard AS/NZS1715:2009).

While respiratory protection is an excellent tool, it should never be the go-to for controlling the respiratory risks to your employee’s health. A reminder that the hierarchy of controls should always be employed, and engineering controls remain the first consideration and most effective control measure.