What is PPE?
Personal protective equipment, otherwise known as PPE, refers to protective garments or gear designed to safeguard the wearer from injury or infection.
PPE may be particularly specialist to a certain job role being carried out, but more generally it may include some of the following:
- Clothing – such as overcoats, disposable clothing or coveralls
- Hair nets
- Face masks
- Ear protection
- Knee pads
- Back support
PPE can protect against a range of hazards, including physical, electrical, heat, chemicals, biohazards and airborne particulate matter.
Typically, PPE is worn in certain workplaces, as required by employees for Duty of Care purposes. However, there are also many reasons why individuals may want to use PPE outside of the workplace or in businesses that had never required it before…
PPE During COVID-19
The outbreak of COVID-19 has thrown society into unprecedented times. In the Western World, it hasn’t always been usual for people to regularly wear facemasks for health protection whilst out and about, however a global pandemic can be sure to change that.
More and more, we are seeing people going about their daily lives protected by disposable gloves and masks – or other DIY methods of mouth and nose coverage, like scarves, high collars or homemade solutions.
Here are some things to consider when looking for regular-use PPE against virus protection:
Use a reliable supplier
A lot of inexperienced companies are taking advantage of the increased demand for these products, so don’t get duped and make sure you buy from somewhere reputable (look for accreditations and a history of selling these types of supplies).
It may seem easier to tie a random piece of clothing around your face, but consider how ineffective it would be to use a DIY face mask that’s poorly fitted and made from inappropriate material. The same goes for heading to work protected by household rubber gloves – slack hand protection with openings at the wrists aren’t exactly fit for virus-protection purposes.
If you’re going to go down the PPE route, you may as well do a proper job of it. Commit to what you choose.
That means, if you’re wearing gloves, don’t take them off and then put them on again; dispose of potentially infected PPE and use clean replacements. Again, the same rule applies for face protection (and try not to touch, fiddle or partially remove a face mask while wearing it).
If you’re an employer introducing PPE to staff, ensure they are trained on proper use.
Dispose of safely
Finally, once you’ve used your virus-protection PPE, make sure it’s disposed of safely and in compliance with UK guidelines.
Disposing of PPE
Face masks, gloves and other forms of PPE have the potential to become contaminated once worn. This makes them a form of clinical waste.
Because of the hazards this waste poses, it needs to be disposed of responsibly to minimise the risks for those handling it down the waste chain.
If your business is disposing of PPE, then you have a Duty of Care to follow all the relevant regulations, otherwise you could be subject to hefty fines. If you can’t prove that a licensed waste carrier has disposed of your waste, then you could be in for a world of trouble.
Hassle Free Service from Direct365
At Direct365, we provide comprehensive waste services nationwide, including PPE disposal. You can get regular or one-off collections, specialist bins and expert guidance all included as part of the bespoke contracts we offer.
What’s more, our licensed waste carriers provide you with free legal paperwork to prove your Duty of Care, like waste transfer notes.