March 24, 2020


A point-of-care risk assessment (PCRA) must be performed before every patient interaction to determine what PPE a health care worker requires to safely provide care.

The PCRA includes an evaluation of the type of care you will provide, the status of the patient/ client and the environment in which you are practicing.

If you determine, based on your professional and clinical judgement, that fitted respirator protection (N95 or equivalent) is required you will not be unreasonably denied by your employer. In the case where you determine an N95 is required and you are unable to be fitted for one, you will be deployed.


I have been told not to use an N95 mask. What should I do?

Do a point-of-care risk assessment (evaluate the situation and your interactions with the patient).

Decide what you feel is the appropriate PPE.

If your assessment determines a surgical mask can be used, proceed with your nursing care.

If your assessment determines that an N95 should be used, speak to your manager or designate. Inform them you will be using an N95

If your manager directs you to treat the patient without an N95, you have the option to refuse unsafe work under the  Occupational Health & Safety Act.


What’s the procedure for refusing unsafe work?

Tell your manager you are refusing unsafe work.

Provide your safety concerns and reasons for the refusal based on your assessment.

Contact your workplace Occupational Health and Safety representative immediately. (Your manager can help identify your rep. You may also find information on the employer intranet or OH&S bulletin board).

Follow-up with your OH&S representative in writing (email is fine).

Management will then investigate.

If your employer fails to provide an N95 respirator, the next step is to report it to the Occupational Health and Safety Division of the provincial government (the OH&S Committee should be able to provide details on making this contact). Also, contact RNU Provincial Office. During after hours, email

While the matter is being investigated by the Occupational Health and Safety Division, your employer may assign you other duties.