4th Jan 2021
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Ms Joan Pereira
MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC
Question No. 426
To ask the Minister for Health with regard to healthcare workers feeling unwell while using personal protective equipment (PPE), whether there are plans for the standard PPE to be made moisture permeable to prevent healthcare workers from suffering thermal strain.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) acts as a barrier against potentially infectious contaminants such as blood, body fluids, or respiratory secretions.
To effectively protect the wearer from potentially infectious contaminants, PPE will need to meet certain standards e.g. N95 respirators and surgical masks need to be fluid resistant amongst other parameters, and medical gowns will require a certain degree of liquid barrier performance based on Association of the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) standards.
To ensure that staff do not suffer from thermal strain or fatigue from prolonged PPE use, healthcare institutions and community care sites have put in place mitigating measures such as exempting pregnant staff and staff with underlying medical conditions from the COVID-wards and other areas where they will be required to be in full PPE for long hours.
In addition, the duration of working shifts has been adjusted to ensure that healthcare workers do not have to wear PPE for long hours. Healthcare workers are also encouraged to have sufficient rest, get hydrated at regular intervals, and to speak up should they feel unwell.