The issue over the wearing of face masks in order to protect the public and the workforce from contracting Covid-19 seems to be one of controversy, with many people objecting to having to do so on the grounds of civil liberty and on the basis of it being part of a conspiracy to control the population!
Given the the Covid-19 virus is transmitted through the air we breathe and attacks the lungs, common sense dictates that face masks which sufficiently filter out Coronovirus particles in the air; should be worn. Many Union Safety Reps knew this of course from the outset, as did those remembering the years in the 50s and 60s when fog blighted the country every winter. Face coverings were then the order of the day when venturing outside. The risk of developing TB and other lung diseases such as bronchitis was too great for this advice to be ignored.
But, it seems that in the 21st Century, the lack of common sense seems to prevail amongst are large section of UK's population according to media reports and of course the anecdotal evidence provided by the public.
Not wearing face masks properly is quite common and can be seen in shops and publics spaces daily. The problem of course is that by not covering the mouth AND nose, the wearing of masks is pointless - we breathe in and out via our nose, and not just our mouths.
As a result such a person is risking the health of those around them and the ignorance of such people in not wearing a face mask properly, has not been lost on those using social media. This has prompted various humorous images, but some with a rather down putting and sarcastic message; pictured below:
In an endeavor to counteract the resistance to wearing face masks in public and more importantly at the workplace, which for many CWU members who are engineers, visiting customer's homes IS their workplace, CWU National Health & Safety Officer Dave Joyce gave a presentation on 4th March to CWU members from across the UK.
Utilising a virtual meeting via video, Dave gave a comprehensive presentation on the science behind the wearing of face masks as a way of protecting workers and enabling them to go about their daily work activities with good protection from the airborne virus and the possibility of contracting Covid-19.
the PowerPoint presentation slides which covered:
· The pandemic timeline
· PPE shortages, costs and spend
· CWU strategy for tackling Covid-19 in the workplace
· Workforce testing and vaccination priority for CWU members
· Methods of virus spread –aerosols, droplets & contact
· Masks –they are effective and they work
· Masks reduce and work as a control for airborne transmission
· BMJ Report by Nicholas R Jones & others –indoor risks, space, number of people, ventilation, time exposed
Importantly, Dave's presentation began with providing the Covid-19 Timeline in order to put the issues around PPE and the wearing of face masks, into context and to remind us that this has been a devastating event hat has lasted over 12 months, to date:
Covid In The UK Timeline
To date in the UK we’ve had 4.2 million infection cases and 125,000 deaths.
Worldwide 110 million infected and 2.45 million deaths.
One of the most interesting slides in Dave's presentation was entitled: A CWU Strategy For Tackling Covid-19 in
This of course begs the question for many USRs in the T&FS part of the CWU - Where is the CWU Strategy For Tackling Covid-19 in BT and other companies that CWU has membership?
Meanwhile, Dave Joyce's presentation can be downloaded from the Unionsafety E-Library using search word 'LTB10421' or via the listings in the 'Infectious Disease/Pandemics' category.
Source: CWU LTB104/21 / unionsafety