COVID-19 and PPE
This is a Q&A with a business located in Sault Ste. Marie, ON about some issues facing businesses and individuals now that many regions are requiring masks in public. Nothing in this post contains legal advice. You should seek legal advice for your specific situation. Please contact Robin, the owner, directly for any questions regarding his business.
How did you get into this industry?
My connection to the healthcare industry first began a little over 10 years ago when I was a front line PSW worker for a nursing home. Fast forward a few years later I became more actively involved with medical equipment and learning about the supply chain industry. I received an Advanced Diploma in Biomedical Engineering Technology and gained practical experience working as a Biomedical Technologist for the Ottawa Heart Institute, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Sault Area Hospital. During this time, I worked as a member of a team responsible for maintaining and repairing the medical equipment found throughout the hospital. Throughout this experience I have seen first hand how healthcare staff rely on their equipment and supplies to complete complex surgical procedures and treat medical conditions.
Any hiccup with their equipment and supply chain drastically puts a strain on the quality of patient care. That is one of the reasons why I started RW Medical as a way to help prevent hiccups from occurring behind the scenes.
Tell us about your business and how you have assisted other businesses during COVID-19.
RW Medical is a unique medical service and supplies provider based right here in Sault Ste Marie, Northern Ontario. Our service division provides a low cost and efficient solution for healthcare facilities in regards to maintaining and repairing their medical equipment as well as tracking life cycles expenses. Throughout COVID, healthcare facilities have struggled with access to service as most institutions have restricted visitors on their property. As well, some manufacturers have refused to travel to customer locations until COVID is over.
For us at RW Medical, we provide our clients the option to send their equipment via courier to our lab allowing for social distancing and their equipment to be repaired in a timely manner with very little down time. For example the other day we received two centrifuges from a remote Northern Ontario hospital in need of repair. In a span of 7 days, we troubleshooted, ordered parts, had both of them repaired and shipped back to our clients hospital for the devices to be used for essential blood testing.
Throughout COVID, our supplies division has been operating at full throttle delivering supplies to essential business so they may continue to operate safely. Crucial PPE supplies have been in high demand and have been disrupting providers supply chains. Through our network we have been successful at navigating through the supply chain hurdles and keeping a steady stock. All of our local clients have been taking advantage of our same day delivery service minimizing service interruptions.
Tell us about some things you have seen others doing to help with protecting their customers/clients.
Pre-COVID our typical client base was dental offices and healthcare facilities. These organizations require specific supplies such as gloves & masks to do their jobs safely, without them, they can’t operate. Now Post-COVID, our client base has expanded to include a variety of other businesses such as car dealerships, daycares, townships & hair salons. These businesses are now required by public health organizations to use the same supplies as healthcare facilities to operate their business safely. For example, staff at daycares are now required to wear masks at their centres. Furthermore they also require parents to also wear a mask prior to entering their building. No mask, no entry.
Tell us about some of the possibilities for PPE in occupational health and safety.
The realm of occupational health and safety will need to adapt to the new PPE regulations. Business owners who are providing their employees with PPE should have a protocol in place to ensure that their employees have been trained in proper donning and doffing of the equipment. Also there should be a governing body monitoring these programs to ensure compliance and that the health & safety protocols are being carried out properly. Business owners should have a policy in place of when PPE should be changed during an employee shift.
What do you wish others knew about PPE pre- and post-COVID-19?
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is something that most people didn’t think too much about Pre-COVID unless they were in the healthcare field. Nowadays PPE is everywhere and it's what they call the new norm.
What people need to realize is that proper PPE use (donning & doffing) in the healthcare field is something that was taught to them while they were in school and they have had countless hours of practice before using the PPE properly in the real world. This is for a good reason. If PPE is not put on or taken off properly no cross contamination could occur and ultimately it is not doing what it is supposed to do, Protect you!
In present times, individuals are wearing PPE without even thinking about, how do I put this on properly? Or how do I take it off without coming in contact with the contaminated side? Wearing PPE without this knowledge is giving people a false sense of security and is possibly endangering themselves and others.
How can people get in touch with you who are not in Algoma? What are options available to others who are interested in ordering PPE from you?
For Businesses outside of Algoma who require assistance with PPE or any of our services ,its best to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are a ton of PPE products out there and it could be overwhelming at times choosing the right products while staying compliant with Health Canada Regulations. Our Customer Service Reps would gladly walk you through which PPE items would be best for your organization while ensuring your budget needs are met. We ship all across Canada through multiple logistic partners to ensure you get your order in the shortest time possible.