Care workers:“What protection is in place for workers in care settings?”

1. What are Public Health advising should be in place in care settings where a resident has COVID-19?

The link below provides details of what types of mask you should be wearing if working with someone with COVID-19


2. Public Health England advice for standard infection control principles that should be in place in all health and care settings.

If you work in a care setting and you have residents with COVID-19 make sure you read this guidance as it provides details of what type of PPE you need to wear.


Public Health England are stating that if residents or staff are not showing symptoms there is no risk of sharing or contracting the virus, therefore staff do not need to wear the PPE that is required when working with residents with COVID-19.


Barnet UNISON has received a large number of concerns from careworkers who, now, like NHS staff are caring for individuals who have become infected with Coronavirus.

All care settings MUST comply with the advice set out by Public Health England. Please contact us if you are working in a setting where these minimal standards are not being adhered to.

Contact us on 0208 359 2088 (leave a message)

or email us at

if you have any further concerns.

“Droplet precautions, isolation and personal protective equipment (PPE):

  • Care homes are not expected to have dedicated isolation facilities for people living in the home.
  • Isolation precautions should be implemented in the same way care homes operate for influenza.
  • A resident’s own room can be used if isolation is needed, ideally a single bedroom with en-suite.
  • If this is not possible, discuss the option of cohorting with your local PHE health protection team.

Staff should use PPE for close personal contact with a symptomatic resident or bodily fluids.

  • Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks should be used in these situations.
  • If there is a risk of splashing, then eye protection will minimise risk.
  • New PPE must be used for each episode of care.
  • On leaving the resident’s room, PPE should be removed, and hand hygiene performed immediately, as per standard infection control precautions.
  • Isolation may end after 7 days from illness onset, so long as the case feels better and has no fever.”

Read full guidance by click link below.

Interim IPC advice for care homes_v1.2_20200318

When to use a surgical face mask or FFP3 respirator: Government Guidance

© Crown copyright 2020. Public Health England Gateway number 2019 271

“When caring for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, all healthcare workers need to – prior to any patient interaction – assess the infectious risk posed to themselves and wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimise that risk.”

Click on the link for full advice

Front line worker: What should you do if you have someone else living with you?

Below is the latest government advice for those workers who live with someone who is defined as at risk from the Coronavirus.

“Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19”

Updated 30 March 2020

Background and scope of guidance

This guidance is for people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers. It is intended for use in situations where the extremely vulnerable person is living in their own home, with or without additional support. This includes the extremely clinically vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities, either for the elderly or persons with special needs.

Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. We are strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions (listed below), which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19), to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.

  1. Minimise as much as possible the time other family members spend in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas, and keep shared spaces well ventilated.
  2. Aim to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from people you live with and encourage them to sleep in a different bed where possible. If you can, you should use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. Make sure you use separate towels from the other people in your house, both for drying themselves after bathing or showering and for hand-hygiene purposes.
  3. If you do share a toilet and bathroom with others, it is important that they are cleaned after use every time (for example, wiping surfaces you have come into contact with). Another tip is to consider drawing up a rota for bathing, with you using the facilities first.
  4. If you share a kitchen with others, avoid using it while they are present. If you can, you should take your meals back to your room to eat. If you have one, use a dishwasher to clean and dry the family’s used crockery and cutlery. If this is not possible, wash them using your usual washing up liquid and warm water and dry them thoroughly. If you are using your own utensils, remember to use a separate tea towel for drying these.
  5. We understand that it will be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others at home. You should do your very best to follow this guidance and everyone in your household should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face, and clean frequently touched surfaces.

If the rest of your household stringently follow advice on social distancing and minimise the risk of spreading the virus within the home by following the advice above, there is no need for them to also shield alongside you.”

Read more advice here


Barnet UNISON statement:

If you have any questions or concerns email the branch at

You can keep up to date with Barnet UNISON here on our

Website here



Do you work in a care home or school? Dial Helpline details below.

Do you work in a care home or a school ?

Do you have some concerns about Coronavirus and what procedures should be in place in your work place?

Why not give the helpline a call?

Barnet Council have set up a Public Health (PH) helpline for care homes in Barnet.

The number is 0808 281 3210, choose option 5, which will state:

“If you are calling from a care home, school or are a Councillor needing public health advice, press 5.”

The PH Team will be able to talk you through the infection control procedures and organise PPE delivery, via covid19.


Three workers in the Dust truck is not safe

The threat of COVID 19 both real and perceived is growing stronger every day especially amongst front line workers who are being asked to carry on a deliver services as normal.

But these are not normal times. We are in a global pandemic which is sweeping across the globe, some countries faster than others.

The response from workers in public services is incredible people are offering support to other services which are under serious pressure.

Once such service that needs to continue otherwise there will be another type of public health risk is the Waste and Recycling Service.

There can sometimes be 3 or 4 workers sitting inside a vehicle a clear contravention of the government advice on social distancing.

Earlier this week Barnet UNISON wrote to Barnet Council requesting urgent measures to be put in place to safeguard our member’s health and safety.

Our demands are as follows:

1. Cleaning regime.

The inside of the vehicles are subjected to thorough cleansing regime each day.

That Hand gel is provided for each team every day. Please note there are no toilets available for these staff to use therefore no access to water and soap.

Cleansing wipes to be provided to each team every day.

Gloves and masks to be provided to each team every day.

Provision of toilet facilities for the workforce

Procedure to change how they currently work to reflect government advice about social distancing.

2. Bonus/recognition payment

Workers have asked that the Council pay a bonus to the reflect the recognition of the work they are currently providing under difficult circumstances.

3. Mental Health

To increase awareness of counselling support for staff working on the frontline during this national crisis.

4. Food and supplies

It is well documented that access to supermarkets is proving problematic and for the key workers it will more difficult for them to access supermarkets as they are working. Barnet UNISON has asked Barnet Council look to secure means by which food and supplies can be provided on an order basis for key workers.


***** Barnet Council have responded see below:


Hand sanitiser gel has been issued to the crews and drivers have a supply of hand wipes for them and the crew to use.  Drivers can request more from the Supervisors once their supply has gone.  Drivers are also being issued with cleansing wipes so that they are able to wipe down surfaces, handles and steering wheels in the cab.  We have also progressed arrangements to implement a cleansing regime for vehicle cabs.  Nitril gloves are currently also available on request for those who may wish to use them.

We have sourced resource that will be undertaking a deep cleanse of the RCV cabs on Saturday this week.  Following this, we will have a team of four people working from Monday to clean the vehicle cabs.  RCV’s will be cleaned on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings and Street Cleansing vehicles will be cleaned on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.


No bonus payment will be paid to key workers.

Mental Health

Mental Health First Aiders to be made available for staff to contact and discuss their issues.

Food and Supplies




We Need To Hear From You


We are attending weekly skype meetings with Barnet Council every Wednesday morning.

Barnet UNISON statement:

If you have any questions or concerns email the branch at


You can keep up to date with Barnet UNISON here on our

Website here



What is happening in your workplace: Please read

If your employer is not listening to the government following the lock down announcement as a worker you do have some legal rights to protect your health and safety.

If you are a Barnet UNISON member please let us know immediately by emailing the branch at

Already some workers have walked out by using this legislation

Employment Rights Act 1996 Section 44 (Health and safety cases).

(1) An employee has the right not to be subjected to any detriment by any act, or any deliberate failure to act, by his employer done on the ground that—

(d) in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed to be serious and imminent and which he could not reasonably have been expected to avert, he left (or proposed to leave) or (while the danger persisted) refused to return to his place of work or any dangerous part of his place of work, or

(e) in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed to be serious and imminent, he took (or proposed to take) appropriate steps to protect himself or other persons from the danger.

Barnet UNISON statement:

Please let the branch know what is going on with your employer by sending an email to

You can keep up to date with Barnet UNISON here on our

Website here



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