Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, refers to equipment that has been specially designed to protect the wearer against inescapable hazards in their workplace or surroundings. It’s often a last-resort measure when there is no other solution to eliminate the hazard, or avoid exposure to infection. Items of PPE include face coverings and shields, respiratory masks, body coveralls, among other items designed for protecting specific parts of the body.
Why is PPE important?
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, PPE has emerged as the primary method of source control. It is of fundamental importance in limiting the spread of the virus, and subsequent hospitalizations and fatalities. It is important for frontline workers, who work with the public, to understand how to protect their health and the health of the people they interact with and serve. Thus, wearing appropriate PPE becomes crucial for them. At the same time, it is also important for the general public to take precautionary measures and help limit the spread of the virus. This is particularly important for those who have frequent close contact with a large number of others.
Types of PPE: Selecting The Right Kind
Boss and Hughes is a reputed manufacturer for all kinds of PPE, including FDA-approved N95 face masks, disposable medical-grade masks, cloth face masks, face shields, safety goggles, and more. Alcohol-based sanitizer wipes and disinfectants also help to maintain proper hygiene.
When selecting PPE for your workplace, ensure that:
- You choose that equipment which suits the wearer depending on the size, fit and weight of the PPE.
- If multiple items of PPE are to be worn together, they must be compatible with one another.
- The PPE is not a source of discomfort.
- Choose certified, high-grade PPE for maximum protection. Personnel at Boss and Hughes is available to provide credible information with respect to the same.
Types of PPE available for use to protect against COVID-19:
These cover the mouth, nose and chin. These protect the airway from particulate matter and respiratory droplets, thus preventing the spread of the virus.
- Triple layer medical masks: These are fluid-resistant and disposable, providing protection to the wearer from infectious droplets which may be passed on due to coughing, sneezing, or talking.
- N-95 respirator masks: These masks have high filtration efficiency to airborne and potentially infectious particles.
These provide protection to the head while providing care to patients. Any and all head covers must be able to fit all of the wearer’s hair.
When an individual touches an object or surface which may have been contaminated by a COVID-19 infected person, and then touches their own face (including the mouth, nose and eyes), they may get exposed to the virus. Thus, gloves help to exercise required caution and can be disposed of after coming in contact with possibly contaminated surfaces.
These are designed to provide full-body protection to the wearer. Such coveralls serve as a barrier between the person and their environment, thus reducing exposure due to contact or droplets.
Shoe covers are made of waterproof and water-resistant material and are used to cover the shoes, thereby facilitating protection of the wearer and helping keep the shoes uncontaminated.
When not in use, the PPE must be stored and maintained well. Reusable PPE must be cleaned thoroughly before being kept in a clean, dry cupboard. PPE that needs to be disposed off must be done so keeping all safety guidelines in mind. All wearers of PPE must be trained with regard to PPE maintenance. Additionally, replacement PPE must always be available.
PPE for General Public
The general public is requested to not wear surgical masks, as this may lead to a dipping supply of the same for healthcare personnel. Instead, one may use a multi-layered, breathable non-surgical face mask or cloth mask, which closely fits over the mouth, chin and nose, and has comfortable but secure loops to go around the ears.
Duties as an Employer
As an employer, it is important to note that:
- PPE must be used only as a last-resort measure.
- A proper assessment of the workplace must be conducted to understand hazards present, and ways in which employees are exposed to the same.
- Employees must be provided PPE free of charge.
- Employees must be trained in proper maintenance of the PPE, and understand how to identify and report any defects in the same.
- You must never allow an employee exemptions from wearing the PPE, even if the task they are engaged with takes only a short amount of time.
- When in doubt, seek advice from a specialist at Boss and Hughes.
It is important to follow these guidelines for use of personal protective equipment in order to successfully combat the coronavirus pandemic. For all your PPE needs, contact Boss and Hughes for high-quality equipment.