22 February 2013

Does ACTION need better protocols for blood borne diseases

| johnboy
Join the conversation

The Liberals’ Alistair Coe has worked himself into a tizz over a mishap on a bus:

Minister Rattenbury confirmed in Estimates that ACTION has no written procedures for handling contaminations on board buses, said Shadow Transport Minister, Alistair Coe.

Yesterday, it was revealed in the media that a person with a blood borne virus alerted ACTION to the fact that he may have bled on board a bus.

In an Assembly Committee today, Mr Coe asked whether there are documented procedures about how to handle such potential contaminations.

ACTION officials admitted there is no documented process about how to deal with these problems.

“The lack of a written procedure is a worry and limits the ability for ACTION to learn from mistakes and ensure that the potentially risky situation was handled properly,” Mr Coe said.

“There are serious concerns and unanswered questions about how ACTION handled the situation.

“I have been in touch with family of a passenger who said that they had received sub-standard information and support from ACTION.

“The Government does not seem to be taking this matter seriously.

On first blush this does indeed seem serious.

But anyone who’s ever done a menial job knows well that all decontamination comes down to a bucket, gloves, bleach, and someone who drew the short straw.

“Don’t get any on you” is front of mind and knowing what whomever deposited the bodily fluids might have had really won’t make much difference.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments
BlackChariot11:04 am 24 Feb 13

Ohh FFS! Identify potential hazard and assess, isolate potential hazard, brief passengers and report. Ensure potential hazard is removed as soon as practicable.

Procedure written!

Madam Cholet1:01 pm 22 Feb 13

I don’t think the policy needs to be entitled ‘How to deal with blood born viruses on an Action bus’, but it needs to be incorporated into a procedure about how to handle situations of high risk that can arise on a bus. They would have to have a risk management plan in place and I’m sure (hopeful at least), that they have something on the plan that relates to how to deal with situations that may arise out of the blue. It would be required under the WHS regs I’m sure.

I think Coe is being a bit alarmist in his requirement of a policy that covers this particular incident in advance, but certainly I would expect drivers to be trained in how to handle odd scenarios without being specific, even if that starts with ‘if in doubt, call it in and ask fro advice’.

I know the person who this impacted. It was a minor who wasn’t told anything except that the seat she was sitting on may have been contaminated. My understanding is the bus driver who stopped the vehicle didn’t inform them of the problem, then a person later arrived in a much more panicked state.

It is true that the cleaning of the potential contamination is relatively straightforward.

I suspect the issue is less about the cleaning, and more about not freaking patrons out. All well and good after the event to say there was no risk; have the ACTION staff tell the patrons that up front.

A policy of getting Alistair to come clean up the mess could be a winner mind you.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.