Personal protective equipment (PPE) isn’t something new and yet, the gear has been in the headlines more often than not for the past two years. With an increased demand for PPE, supplies have run short, and it hasn’t been easy to get the right items. The influx of dubious suppliers has also made it harder for many businesses, dealing with hazardous situations, to purchase the right PPE.
PPE is designed to ensure your work team is safe at all times and each item must meet certain standards. They’re also designed according to the risks your workers face to ensure they’re kept safe under these working conditions. With so many factors to consider when purchasing PPE, you’re faced with deciding if it’s mediscrubs your team needs or simply lab coats.
Use our list of five tips to help you source the right personal protective equipment for your work team, so you know they’re safe while being compliant with local regulations.
1. What Jobs Require PPE?
The first step to identifying the right PPE for your work team is identifying the type of jobs they’re performing. This way, you can decide what style and materials need to be considered for a specific type of PPE. By identifying the job being done, you’re also able to determine what risks your workforce faces, based on the type of tasks they’re undertaking each day.
Once you have a clear understanding of the different roles performed by your staff, you can decide whether they need mediscrubs, lab coats or comfortable clothing for caregiving roles. PPE can also include items such as goggles, helmets and garments to protect against chemical exposure and other hazardous situations.
2. Do PPE Meet Industry Standards?
When selecting a supplier for your PPE requirements, check that they meet the standards of your industry’s safety regulations. Different industries have their own safety standards for PPE. If you operate in the medical sector, the safety standards will be different for PPE compared to those of someone working in the construction industry.
Top-quality PPE products are required to meet certain quality control requirements. When purchasing PPE, always check they meet the necessary standards for your industry based on local government regulations. If you want to be informed about the Australian PPE standards refer to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources for more information.
3. Finding the Right Supplier
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic there’s been more suppliers joining the market, and they operate worldwide. Knowing which suppliers are reputable and which ones should be avoided is essential to buying the right PPE. While you need to practice due diligence when sourcing a supplier, you can luckily rely on purchasing portals to guide you in the right direction.
Online suppliers may make it seem easier to purchase your PPE but watch out for scammers or companies providing poor quality equipment. Check with your local consumer board such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to see if any complaints have been made against a certain PPE supplier. These commissions are put in place to protect buyers from buying faulty products.
4. Consider the Comfort of Your Employees
It’s your responsibility, as a business owner, to assess the workplace hazards and to implement adequate health and safety protocols for the safety of your employees. This includes empowering them with PPE. Training should be given to ensure your employees know how to wear PPE properly for optimal safety.
In addition, employees need to feel comfortable when wearing PPE. This means engaging your employees when it comes to choosing the fit and style of the PPE. As an added bonus, your employees will be more inclined to wear PPE responsibly.
Most PPE come in multiple sizes and ensuring a proper fit is key to your employees’ comfort while working in a hazardous environment. So, rather than buying one size, rather buy according to employees’ size preferences.
5. How Long Should PPE Last?
Another question you need to ask yourself when sourcing the right PPE for your business is how long it needs to last. Some PPE are only used once and discarded while others need to last a bit longer while still being effective in offering your staff protection. If your selection of PPE needs to have a longer lifespan, consider the quality of the equipment you buy and ask for a manufacturer’s warranty if necessary.
Having the right PPE means making sure they’re giving the best protection when your employees are performing hazardous tasks. You also need to know when PPE should be replaced and this includes looking for signs of damage or wear and tear. Good quality PPE should be able to withstand potential accidents before you need to replace them.
Many countries have stringent health and safety policies in place to protect the rights of employees in the workplace. This includes sourcing the right personal protection equipment for your employees working in hazardous situations.
With so many different suppliers providing PPE, you can use these tips to ensure you get the best protective gear for your workers. It’s best to play it safe!