PPE 101

In an earlier blog post, we explored the importance of having a safe work environment upon re-entering the workforce. Having a solid game plan on how to keep both workers and customers alike protected as we get into the groove of a new normal can ease your mind in ensuring that your business stays safe. If you were not able to check out that article - you can check it out here. We’re sure you’ll gain some great ideas on how to create the best plan for your business. 

While having a plan is wonderful, choosing the right type of protection can make or break your workplace plan. With the way rules and regulations are ever-changing as we adapt to these uncertain times, having the right type of security can relieve you of additional stress. If you’re not sure about what the right PPE for your business needs are, we can help! 

It is the employer’s responsibility to provide PPE to the employees. Many employers provide a certain amount of money for the employee to buy their own PPE, and others provide PPE directly to their employees. Whichever way you decide to go with your PPE policy, it is legally the employer’s responsibility to provide PPE to ensure the safety of their employees.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are items worn to provide a barrier to help prevent potential exposure to infectious disease. These items include:

  • Gloves
  • Gowns
  • Surgical masks
  • Surgical masks with visor attachment
  • Respirators
  • Face shields
  • Eye protection
  • Goggles

The N95 respirator mask is the U.S./NIOSH standard for respirators and KN95 is the Chinese standard. Commercial-grade (non-medical) and medical-grade N95 and KN95 respirators are similar with respect to design, filtration, performance and material standards. In Canada, it is the labelling, indications for use and claims that contribute to the classification of a product as a medical device.

Certified respirators must pass minimum performance requirements, such as:

  • fit testing
  • filter efficiency
  • breathing resistance

Our N95 respirators, that are made in partnership with First Nations People in Canada, not only pass performance requirements They also support the Canadian Cancer Society with a percentage of each sale - check out more details about our N95 Mask here

Now that you know what type of PPE can be included in your work safety plan, let’s talk about some best tips on using your personal protective equipment the right way!

Tip #1: Keep in Mind Fit and Comfort

Once it’s been decided that some protective equipment is essential to protect yourself or others in your workspace, then it must always be used to ensure everyone’s safety. It’s a non-negotiable and if your protection gear isn’t quite fitting the way they need to be, then the protection aspect of the item is greatly reduced. 

An oversized pair of safety goggles or a face shield that barely fits properly aren’t going to be much use; take into consideration your employees sizing and comfort levels. For example, if someone wears glasses, then the safety goggles must account for enough space to accommodate their glasses. Their PPE doesn’t have to be perfectly form-fitting, but it shouldn’t be baggy. 

Tip #2 - There is a safe way to put on your PPE

Please note that PPE does not reduce the hazard itself nor does it guarantee permanent or total protection but it can aid in your continued workplace safety plan. One thing to keep in mind is how PPE is put on - keeping all of your safety equipment safe while putting it on is key. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Before putting on your PPE, clean your hands using soap and water or hand sanitizer.
  • For respirators and masks that have a nosepiece, it should be fitted to the nose with both hands, not bent or tented. Do not pinch the nosepiece with one hand.
  • Your respirator/face mask should be extended under the chin. Both your mouth and nose should be protected. Do not wear a respirator/face mask under your chin or store in your pockets between uses. 
  • If you’re using a respirator, please ensure that the straps are placed on the crown of head (top strap) and base of neck (bottom strap). Perform a user seal check each time you put on the respirator.
  • When wearing a face shield or goggles in addition to a N95 respirator, select the proper eye protection to ensure that the respirator does not interfere with the correct positioning of the eye protection, and that the eye protection does not affect the fit or seal of the respirator. Face shields provide full face coverage. Goggles also provide excellent protection for eyes, but fogging is common.
  • If wearing gloves, they should cover your wrist up to where the cuff of a long sleeve shirt would be.
Tip #3: Removing your PPE safely is just as important

It’s important to know how to remove protective personal equipment in order to avoid transmission. Here is the best way to remove your PPE:

  • Ensure glove removal does not cause additional contamination of hands. Gloves can be removed using more than one technique (e.g., glove-in-glove or bird beak).
  • Perform hand hygiene using soap and water or hand sanitizer after removing gloves.
  • Carefully remove face shield or goggles by grabbing the strap and pulling upwards and away from head. Do not touch the front of the face shield or goggles.
  • Remove and discard respirator (or facemask if used instead of respirator). Do not touch the front of the respirator or facemask.
  • Perform hand hygiene after removing the respirator/face mask and before putting it on again if your workplace is practicing reuse.

If you need some assistance in choosing the right bundles for your workforce, no matter the size, we’re here to help. We understand that choosing the right PPE is crucial for the health of your business so please feel free to contact us here, fill out the form and we’ll get back to you!