Personal protective equipment (PPE) is meant to keep workers safe from hazards at work. This can include personal safety equipment, such as hard hats, safety goggles, and earplugs, or environmental safety equipment, such as respirators and masks.
Should PPE be reusable?
In some cases, the answer is yes. For instance, if you are a farmer and need to wear a respirator while driving the tractor or working with the livestock, it makes sense to have multiple respirators at your disposal in case it breaks or gets dirty. Workers must be trained to properly clean and disinfect their respirators before using them again.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be reusable where possible. Using PPE can reduce the risk of exposure to hazards while working with chemicals, biological agents and other harmful substances.
The correct selection of PPE will depend on the type of hazard being dealt with and the duration that it is expected to be worn. When choosing appropriate PPE, it is also essential to consider any limitations imposed by the user's size or physical ability.
The benefits of using reusable PPE include the following:
- Reduced cost - reusable items are cheaper than disposable items.
- Less waste can be reused often, reducing the waste created from manufacturing new products each time a new batch is required. This also reduces carbon emissions from manufacturing processes as less energy is used to produce each item due to their longer life span.
- Better protection - reusable items offer better protection than disposable items because they are washed regularly, which helps reduce contamination levels and reduces risks associated with reusing them, such as cross-contamination between users.
However, there are many industries where PPE should not be reused because of the dangers associated with this practice. For example, if you're working with chemicals or other hazardous materials, an explosion or leak could cause serious harm if the PPE gets contaminated by those substances during use. In these instances, it would be safer for all parties involved if each new employee used a fresh pair of gloves or goggles every time they go to work so no one else gets exposed.
Reusable PPE may sound like a great cost-saving measure, but it can lead to more problems than you might think. Because many people use reusable PPE, it's hard to ensure that it stays clean enough to protect users from infections or other hazards. Also, if a user needs to learn how to disinfect their equipment correctly or they need access to cleaning supplies, they could be putting themselves in danger just by using the same gear repeatedly.
Consider buying disposable items if you need to save money on your company's PPE purchases. Not only will this help ensure safety for employees who need help disinfecting their equipment correctly, but it will also save you money in the long run. Disposable PPE items are also an excellent option for those on a tight budget, as they can be purchased in bulk and used for several different purposes. This is particularly true if your employees work in multiple departments or shifts throughout the day.