The Importance Of Up To Date PPE When Getting People Back To Work
With the government urging many employees to return to their workplaces if they are unable to work from home, the role that PPE plays in keeping staff safe has never been so crucial.
With the government taking measures to kickstart the economy by getting people back to work, adequate and up to date PPE must be available for all to use. Government guidelines have gone some way to providing employers and business owners with the information they need to prepare workplaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but as the UK economy comes in a variety of business shapes and sizes, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to follow.
Therefore, it is up to the individual businesses to ensure that social distancing is carried out wherever possible, and that personal protective equipment is available and in good condition.
Social care and health
Updated on the 15th April 2020, the COVID-19: personal protective equipment (PPE) plan for non-health settings set out by the government states ‘practising good hand hygiene and social distancing are key to minimising the risk of infection’ but makes little mention of facemasks.
However, with more and more employees finding security in hand sanitiser and facemasks, many are purchasing their own supplies in order to reduce the anxiety felt by returning to work.
In social care and the health industry, the rules on PPE provisions differ and require disposable PPE including gloves, masks and plastic aprons to keep staff safe from the risk of infection.
With some PPE types in short supply, any reusable PPE that could be utilised instead such as the Wearwell washable antibacterial face masks should be provided to staff.
Construction and manufacturing
As workers across the construction and manufacturing industries are also starting to return to work following periods of furlough, now is a good time to ensure that all other workwear is in good condition.
Checking for cracks in eye protection and headgear plus tears in boilersuits and general wear on gloves and footwear is recommended, especially if items have been left in storage during the lockdown. Although the UK is still in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, letting standards slip on other PPE requirements can still result in hefty fines and even legal action, so take the time during this quieter period to make necessary checks and place any orders for replacement items if needed.