Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 57 million pounds of PPE have polluted oceans—and that’s not including PPE used for industrial purposes. How can you implement an effective PPE policy without damaging the environment?
The Importance of PPE in the Workplace
PPE protects your employees from potential hazards like:
- Chemical spills
- Wood chippings
- Viruses and pathogens
Of course, you must also take the proper precautions to protect yourself and others, like correctly containing liquids and providing the right tools to get a job done safely.
PPE is an extra measure that protects people in the event of an accident or spill or if other protective measures aren’t available.
PPE Policies for Your Operations
In the healthcare, manufacturing, construction, or commercial cleaning industries, PPE policies are the key to keeping staff safe. OSHA requires these industries to implement PPE policies relevant to each company’s specific work.
Your PPE (personal protective equipment) should include hardhats, safety goggles, and protective face masks if you’re in construction.
Healthcare workers must wear facemasks or shields and hazmat suits if necessary.
When developing your PPE policy, consider the materials and equipment your employees interact with daily and follow OSHA standards for your specific industry. This increases your PPE compliance in the workplace while also enhancing the safety and efficiency of your employees.
How To Design Your PPE Policy
As an employer, you have responsibilities for maintaining a safe work environment, which is why you need to develop your PPE plan thoroughly. When designing your PPE policy, consider:
- How to protect your workers
- Compliance with relevant standards and laws
- The regulations of your company and industry
Ensure your employees use PPE in the correct situations, such as:
- When other controls aren’t available
- Short-term, high-risk scenarios
- Maintenance, clean up, and repair when other controls aren’t effective
- Emergency situations
Types of PPE
Depending on which industry you work in, you may need certain types of PPE. Here’s a PPE checklist of all the equipment available to you:
- Protective masks
- Safety glasses
- Earplugs or muffs
- Hazmat suits
- Protective shoes
- Hard hats
Each type of PPE serves a different purpose and should be worn in certain situations:
Gloves are an essential PPE tool that protects your employees’ hands as they work. Almost every industry requires glove usage, including:
- Food service
- Chemical manufacturing
Nurses and doctors use gloves when handling liquids or examining open skin wounds. Construction workers use gloves when handling heavy moving equipment, like power saws, to give their hands an extra layer of protection.
Types of PPE materials for gloves include:
- High impact
- PU dipped
People use PPE aprons when working with fire, chemicals, or patients, and they come in denim, fire-resistant, or single-use material.
In the healthcare industry, employees should use aprons when working with a patient experiencing nausea or when handling fluids of any kind.
Welders use fire-resistant aprons to protect themselves from sparks when working with welding tools.
Chemists use protective aprons to prevent chemical burns when working with toxic chemicals. Overall, this PPE tool is versatile and enhances worker safety in high-risk environments.
Workers’ arms are often exposed when handling sharp materials or moving equipment. Thick PPE sleeves cover arms to prevent scratches, deep cuts, and electric shock. Cut-resistant sleeves include:
- Form-fitting tubular knit sleeves
- Kevlar sleeves
- Disposable sleeves
When employees work in unsafe conditions that include toxic chemicals, biological pathogens, molten metal, thermal extremes, or fire hazards, they must wear PPE jackets.
Many chemists, welders, and scientists use jackets every day since they’re constantly working in dangerous environments.
PPE jackets include:
- Fire resistant
- Triple layer
- Heat resistant
Safety vests are similar to safety jackets but are typically required in lower-risk situations, such as directing traffic or completing road construction.
High-visibility vests help workers stand out. If someone is directing traffic, especially at night, they need to be seen by all drivers.
If somebody falls into a hole or restricted area during construction, safety vests make them much easier to find.
How To Save Money on PPE
PPE is expensive because it’s made out of high-quality materials. Unfortunately, many industries utilize single-use PPE because it’s cheaper, but it also creates waste and increases PPE costs in the long run.
Save money on your PPE by partnering with a laundering organization, so you no longer have to continuously purchase new materials. PPE laundering increases the lifespan of your PPE because you can reuse laundered materials, creating less waste and saving more money.
Want to save on PPE costs?
Where Can I Get Started?
Now that you know the importance of PPE policies and saving money on PPE, how can you get started?
Closed Loop Recycling professionally launders many types of PPE, including:
- Safety vests
We want to change the way industrial businesses handle their PPE.
Our goal is to help you save on PPE costs while creating less waste and improving the environment. We launder your dirty materials and equipment and return them in pristine condition for reuse.
We’ve helped organizations reuse almost two million pounds of PPE that would have otherwise ended up in landfills. Our laundering services provide cost savings of nearly 80%! Make the switch to reusable PPE today and partner with us to save money and help the environment.