Protecting yourself pathogens has been viewed as only necessary in the emergency field for years. You would see cooks wearing gloves and hairnets to keep customers safe, but COVID-19 has changed everyone’s view on occupational safety. Washing hands and disinfecting surfaces is no longer enough to protect people from harmful bacteria. People have taken the debate on the necessity of personal protective equipment to social media, but the benefits far outweigh the annoyances.
The first benefit of personal protective equipment, or PPE, is to protect yourself from unknown bacteria. Encountering people every day, you never know what germs they may be carrying. While most germs are passed through hand contact, there are airborne pathogens that can be deadly as well. Anytime you disinfect a surface, you want to make sure you are also wearing gloves. However, it is also wise to wear a mask when you are in a crowded location. People may not have symptoms of an illness until after they are contagious, meaning you can get sick by breathing the air they exhale near you.
While PPE is talking about personal protection, protecting others is an additional benefit. The goal of gloves, masks, and disposable jumpsuits is to prevent the spread of bacteria. Employees in the medical field wear protective equipment to prevent contaminating the equipment they are using on you, as well as making sure their germs stay with them. Therefore, it is important to change gloves between tasks, because you do not want someone else’s illness to spread to the next patient.
Finally, the benefit of PPE is the reduction of accidents from occurring. When you are wearing masks while cleaning, you are less likely to battle any negative long-term effects of the harsh chemicals. You will want to make sure you have proper ventilation or wear a mask with a ventilator, or you could face injuries from light-headedness.
Unfortunately, PPE is generally a cost that businesses outside of the food or medical industry do not view as vital. Therefore, for your safety and health benefits, you will want to invest in your own personal protective equipment. Products have become more complex and sophisticated over the years, making the options available greater. When purchasing your own protective garments, make sure they meet the following guidelines.
- Adhere to all OSHA and CDC guidelines
- Easy to use, with clear instructions
- Reliable company manufactures it
- Fits properly to protect you
In addition, there are two types of PPE readily available. You can purchase single-use items or reusable ones. While reusable is often more cost-effective, high fabric quality and disinfecting are important. The goal of personal protective equipment is to create a barrier between you and another person (or surface). Types of substances and specific germs you wish to be protected from will determine what kind of material you want to consider. While living in a sterile environment is the only way to preventing falling ill, protective garments help diminish the chances.