Protecting your employees against COVID-19: know your PPE

There is a saying that goes: “What you don’t know, can’t hurt you”. Unfortunately, when it comes to PPE, nothing could be further from the truth; to protect your employees you need to be certain that you’ve got the right products, certified to do the job they claim to.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, demand for certain types of PPE like disposable gloves and face masks has increased exponentially.

As the world prepares to ease restrictions on daily and business life and begin its route out of lockdown, many employers will be considering purchasing PPE for their employees for the first time. Those in industrial settings routinely purchasing masks and other PPE items may find themselves struggling to purchase for their requirements as high demand leaves many suppliers with little to no stock. Now, more than ever, is the time to know what you’re looking for when sourcing your PPE.

Face masks or fake masks?

As with any PPE, it is vital to do your due diligence. Face masks that filter out harmful particles in the atmosphere will bear a CE certification mark indicating that they comply with EU health, safety and environmental protection standards. This means they have been designed and rigorously tested to ensure they provide the ultimate protection to the wearer. Manufacturers of legitimate CE marked respirator (FFP1/FFP2/FFP3) masks will display a number next to the CE marking, which identifies the notified body responsible for ensuring compliance with regulations. The product will be supplied with an EU Declaration of Conformity and instructions for use. Organisations including the British Standards Institute (BSI) offer online resources to help businesses check the authenticity of PPE products.

For peace of mind, businesses should buy from a reputable source, ideally a business that specialises in selling protective clothing and equipment. Any reputable company will be happy to provide evidence of its CE certification and will undertake checks on its own suppliers to ensure that they are also complying with regulations.

Count the cost

With sales of single-use face masks, disposable gloves and anti-bacterial wipes on the rise, the coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll on the environment. When researching products, look out for alternatives that are more environmentally friendly. For instance, aerosol disinfectant spray may be an effective alternative to using anti-bacterial wipes to wipe down equipment and surfaces, and good hand hygiene doesn’t need to mean disposable gloves; quality, washable work gloves can offer the wearer protection if washed daily with soap and water and left to dry overnight.  They will be more comfortable to wear too.

For more information on protecting your employees against coronavirus, visit our dedicated coronavirus web pages or give us a call on 0121 749 4433.