Paul Rogers on what PPE should be worn when resuscitating a person using CPR
Paul Rogers answers the vexing question of what PPE should be worn when resuscitating a person using CPR during Covid-19, given the conflict between PHE and the UK Resuscitation Council on whether chest compressions are aerosol generating procedures.
PHE publication ‘COVID-19, infection prevention and control guidance’ explains that the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) is thought to occur mainly through respiratory droplets generated by coughing and sneezing and by contact with contaminated surfaces. During AGPs however, it recognises that there is an increased risk or aerosol spread of infectious agents and advises airborne precautions must be implemented when performing AGPs.
In a work-related environment that does not normally involve AGPs or close personal contact with those who may be infected, social distancing and hygiene are the primary methods whereby the risk of transmission from respiratory droplets is being controlled. But in a social care context and for first responders/ambulance crew, work involving close personal contact with those who may be infected has to be carried out to care for those who need it. Many of those cared for will be vulnerable and especially susceptible to the worst effects of the disease if contracted. Likewise, those who care for the vulnerable are also at risk of contracting the disease. First responders and ambulance crews will perform CPR as a routine part of their jobs, and may not be able to ascertain whether the patient has the disease or may have it – especially as many carriers are asymptomatic.
Paul discusses the recent statement by the UK Resuscitation Council that chest compressions are aerosol generating procedures which sits uncomfortably with Public Health England’s view, and consequent guidance on Personal Protective Equipment, that they are not.
He also considers the implications for employers in discharging their obligations under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 when determining what the correct PPE is, and what advice/instructions to give staff confronted with such a situation in a care setting.
Alternatively, you can download a pdf copy of ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19)—Contradictions in aerosol generating procedures guidance for health‘ here.
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Paul Rogers is a member of our Health & Safety Team and his practice centres on the defence of corporations, directors and individuals for offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act. If you would like to discuss any of the issues covered in this article please contact Paul directly or via his Practice Director, Nick Levett for a confidential discussion.
Barristers: Paul Rogers
Categories: Covid-19 | Legal Blog & Publications | Health & Safety during Covid-19