Did you know there are almost thirty-three million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States? Though vaccines are currently helping to control the spread, the reality is that coronavirus remains a huge threat to a vast majority of the population.
For these vulnerable people, PPE serves as a vital way of stopping the spread of the virus. But what exactly is PPE? And who needs it most? In this article, we’ll be answering these questions and more as we explore the importance of PPE during the era of coronavirus. Let’s get started!
What Is PPE?
Before we begin, it’s important that we first go over definitions. PPE is an acronym that stands for personal protective equipment. In essence, this equipment is intended to reduce the chance of exposure to viruses and hazardous chemicals.
Personal protective equipment can include a variety of different gear depending on its specific usage. However, most of the time it includes gloves, masks/respirators, safety glasses, shoes, earplugs, vests, and even full bodysuits.
Employers are required to tell their employees what type of PPE equipment is needed. They’re also required to implement a program that trains them on the proper way to use it.
The Importance of PPE
Now that we know what PPE is we can discuss why it’s vital both in COVID-19 times and beyond. Personal protective equipment has always been important in certain industries.
Particularly, those that need to place their employees in front of potentially hazardous material. However, the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic has placed even more importance on this equipment.
These days PPE is necessary for healthcare staff that is around patients infected with the coronavirus. In many cases, it’s necessary both for the staff and the patients themselves to wear PPE.
Healthcare workers are at the most high risk since they are around the virus all day, every day. As such, personal protective equipment helps keep these front-line workers safe.
Who Needs PPE?
As we mentioned, almost all healthcare workers currently require PPE. In addition, anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 also wears this type of equipment. However, it’s important to remember that the healthcare industry isn’t the only one that requires PPE.
Many industries require their employees to handle things that emit electricity, radiation, or chemicals. Or, people like construction workers can be around dangerous physical objects.
Like the healthcare workers, it’s also important that these employees wear PPE. If their job is operating under OSHA guidelines, then the employers should give clear directions and guidelines on when and how to use the PPE.
How to Put on PPE
In this section, we’ll go over the proper way to put on your protective equipment. Keep in mind that the exact procedure may vary depending on where you work and your job. First, gather everything that you’re required to wear for your jobs.
If you’re wearing a gown, then make sure that it is the right size. Next, clean your hands using hand sanitizer. After that, put on your gown. In some cases, you might need assistance in tying this to your body. Next, put on your respirator or facemask.
Perform a seal check to make sure that the mask is properly secured to your face. After your mask is on, then you can put on any safety goggles or face shields that you need to wear.
Choose whichever option doesn’t interfere with your mask covering. Lastly, put on your gloves. The gloves should be long enough to reach the wrists of your gown. Finally, you’re able to get to work.
How to Take Off PPE
Once you’re done working it’s important to take off your PPE and dispose of it (or clean it) properly. There are typically multiple ways to take off PPE, but in this section, we’ll go over the most popular method.
First, remove your gloves using the one-hand technique. This helps ensure that no cross-contamination occurs during the process. Next, remove your gown. Untie all ties, or unsnap any buttons.
Then, take the gown by the shoulders and pull it down and away from your body. It’s important to do this gently. Avoid any harsh movements. Once the gown is off, dispose of it in a proper receptacle. Once you exit the workplace you can begin hand hygiene with sanitizer or soap. Once your hands are clean, then you can remove your face shield or goggles.
Make sure you touch these objects by the sides of the straps, not the front area that’s exposed. Put this object aside for later cleaning. Then, you can remove your face mask or respirator.
Most of the time you should dispose of these right away. However, some jobs may allow you to keep them and clean them. Once your eye protection and mask are off, then you should clean your hands again. This might seem redundant, but it helps protect you from any potential contaminant that got on your mask or face shield.
Where Can You Purchase PPE?
You can purchase PPE from a variety of suppliers. However, you must pick a PPE provider that meets the personal protective standards set by OSHA. These standards, set by the American National Standards Institute, ensure that all the equipment will be effective at minimizing the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading.
Want More Content? Keep Exploring
We hope this article helped you learn more about the importance of PPE. It’s important to remember that PPE will always be necessary for the population. COVID-19 wasn’t the first pandemic, and it’s not going to be the last.
As such, having an ample supply in case of emergency is essential for anyone working in the healthcare industry, or a similar profession. Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. Keep reading to find more topics that you’re sure to love.