The initial framework developed by occupational medicine specialists from around New Zealand was quite appropriate for the uncertain environment that we at the end of March. More recently, the focus of clinical experts has been the refinement of that framework to reflect the level of risk to our people that can now be more accurately gauged. Clinical experts have also sought to make changes which enable the tool to respond flexibly to local and regional circumstances in the weeks and months ahead.
The updated framework has been produced by the same group of clinicians that were involved in the original framework design. Clinical inputs include occupational medicine, infection prevention and control, infectious diseases and microbiology.
The two documents developed have been designed to work together. The revised framework relies on the categories that people were previously assigned based on their original Occupational Health Assessment using the nationally agreed tool. To be clear, staff are not required to be reassessed using the revised framework.
The documents are designed with Occupational Heath and DHB Managers in mind.
- Protecting vulnerable DHB staff during COVID-19, describes how DHBs are going to take the next steps to keep our people safe while returning the greatest majority of them to work. Key assumptions about its application include the level of COVID-19 prevalence in the community, and controls in place in the DHB setting.
- Covid-19 DHB Occupational Health Assessment Tool for Vulnerable Workers V4.0, is a revision to the original clinical assessment tool. It has been revised to reflect contemporary MoH guidance and the best international evidence available about the risks of COVID-19 to people with underlying health vulnerabilities. The tool has been updated to remove references to work tasks and locations as that is now covered in the first document.
The documents above have been developed specifically for use by the DHB and we have requested that an employee version of the advice is developed. We do have access to the full documents so can provide advice, guidance and provide a copy to members if appropriate.
If you are a vulnerable worker and have concerns about what you are being asked to do we recommend getting in touch with your Manager, RMO Unit and Occupational Health expert in the first instance. Please do not hesitate to contact the STONZ team if you have concerns.