If you are required by law to wear PPE due to the risk of coronavirus, knowing when (and how) to maintain and replace key PPE items is a must to ensure that all protective equipment used by yourself, your team and your customers is safe, effective and still fit for purpose.
Having a timetable of when to replace items can be useful, but it can also be wasteful if you’ve been investing in good quality PPE which meets current UK certification and have things on that list that don’t need to be replaced at the same time as other pieces.
This is how often you should be replacing your PPE and how to spot the common signs of wear and tear.
For healthcare workers who make regular use of PPE such as disposable gloves, plastic aprons and facemasks, most items will be single-use and should be changed several times a day.
In cases of contagious diseases and airborne viruses, disposable PPE must be changed and discarded safely after dealing with each individual patient to prevent cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria, but there are other solutions that can reduce costs.
For items such as boilersuits, trousers and jackets, any tears are a sign that the items needs to be replaced as the fabric of the item has been compromised and no longer offers the level of protection required.
Coveralls that are heavily soiled also fail to offer the protection needed in a wide range of industries, so if they cannot safely be washed without further damaging the garment, it is always a better idea to replace them.
The same can be said of gloves as worn fabric and tears can make it easy for irritants to attack any exposed skin causing rashes and chemical burns.
If you work in an environment where social distancing can’t be maintained, face masks should be worn. Our washable antibacterial facemasks come in packs of 10 and can be washed and reused up to 20 times per unit, making them a cost-effective and far more environmentally friendly alternative to disposable facemasks.
For those in spaces such as retail, gloves should be changed regularly throughout the day. They can be cleaned with hand sanitiser but this will start to degrade the material, making regular changes necessary. Gloves should be carefully removed and disposed of safely.
Regular PPE Inspections
The key to knowing if and when to replace general PPE such as coveralls, trousers, goggles and boilersuits really does come down to the regular and careful inspection of all garments.
Signs of wear and tear such as rips, seams coming loose and heavy soiling are all indicators that your PPE needs to be replaced. It’s more important than ever to be vigilant about the integrity of PPE so it’s well worth making a note in your calendar to remind you to carry out inspections every few weeks. Staff should be encouraged to contact you immediately if any of their items become damaged so that they can be replaced quickly. Our wardrobe management solution can be a lifeline here, and can save time and increase efficiency by allowing designated employees to order their own replacement items, up to a set limit of permitted units per year.
If you’d like more information on replacement PPE, call or email us for assistance.