PPE – WHAT DO I ACTUALLY NEED?
Following on from our last blog post about the safe storage of PPE we had a number of enquiries from businesses who weren’t quite sure of what they should and shouldn’t be providing in terms of equipment during the Coronavirus pandemic (or even just as on-going best practice). It’s undoubtedly confusing when there’s a massive range of styles and protection levels just in masks alone, before you even get to goggles, aprons, wipes and visors. So how can we help?
Our speciality is in ensuring that you have secure, reliable and proven storage space so that all the PPE equipment you’ve invested in is in prime working order for when your team need it …which also helps you control stock and ensure that the right equipment is being used for the right jobs. Beyond that, we’ve pulled together some resources below that may help you understand what you might need in terms of PPE for your specific business.
WHAT PPE DO WE NEED?
Government advice is usually a good place to start but you can often get lost in the minute detail of every single guideline! However, the Health & Safety Executive have produced a handy and compact leaflet that outlines what PPE is, what you should be thinking about when considering stock and what the legal requirements of an employer are. You can download the leaflet here
The focus for any employer is to ensure that a named individual in their business (other than a company director) has full responsibility for conducting a risk assessment to work through exactly where the hazards might be in terms of the business personnel and processes and finding solutions to mitigate those risks. As businesses re-open and there is an on-going risk from Covid-19, there will be different levels of risk depending on the sector. For example, for some businesses there may be little more required than making additional sanitiser available and emphasising the need for regular hand washing. For those businesses engaged in interacting with the public more frequently, garages for example, there may be an enhanced need for visors and goggles. As before Covid-19 it’s all down to working through the business processes and touchpoints, identifying the risks and then developing solutions to lessen the risk of infection transfer.
Public Health Scotland have produced a useful template for businesses to help them conduct their own risk assessments which can be found here .
If you are operating in England, Wales or Northern Ireland please check with your local Public Health authority website for the appropriate regional advice and support.
WHERE DO I ORDER PPE FROM?
There is understandably an international shortage of PPE and the costs have increased over recent months. The key advice from governments and suppliers is only to access the equipment relevant to the level of risk for your business. For example, you may think you’re being hyper-cautious by ordering face masks that offer the highest degree of protection, but if there are only two of you in the office and you're from the same household, it’s probably a wasted investment. By really understanding the level of risk and what the possible solutions are, you can ensure you’re providing sufficient protection for your team and customers, without wasting precious funds and ensuring that those who really need the more sophisticated equipment e.g. healthcare, can access it.
Depending on the complexity and sophistication of the PPE you require will determine where you shop for it. If from your risk assessment you’ve identified that you simply need some disposable gloves and hand sanitiser a trip to your local cash and carry might do the trick. However, as your needs get more complex an industrial distributor of workwear and supplies should be able to satisfy your requirements.
There are many suppliers of PPE across the country and it would be unfeasible for us to make any recommendations of who is best quality or value, it will all depend on what you need based on the risk. However, many local suppliers and businesses or local branches of national wholesalers will really value your support at the moment so a quick internet search of who's operating in your local community should give you the details you need.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
As mentioned, our speciality is in manufacturing secure, durable and high quality storage cupboards for PPE (and other hazardous materials). The storage of PPE is just as important as purchasing it and employers have a responsibility for this to ensure that equipment is in full working order when employees need it. To learn more about why storage is so important access our previous blog here.
Here at James Bedford we've been manufacturing PPE cabinets for industry for over 40 years. Our full range of standard PPE cabinets offer:
A variety of sizes across small, medium and large with either single or double doors
- A choice of solid steel or mesh door options
- Combination of shelves and hanging rails depending on they type of PPE storage required
- Reinforced rebated doors secured by a 3 way locking chrome lever handle
- PremierShield coating that kills 99% of bacteria on contact
- Grey body and Sky Blue doors with the appropriate labelling for easy identification
- Application of casters for mobile options or floor stand for raised positions