According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) definition, personal protective equipment (PPE) is “equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses.” There are many different types of PPE that provide varying levels of protection. The level of PPE necessary depends on the level of human to human interaction and close contact with hazards such as the coronavirus.
Healthcare workers require the most and highest quality PPE because they are closely interacting with many people in an environment where the virus can easily spread. Frontline workers are those who hold public-facing positions such as retail employees. Their risk of exposure is lower than that of healthcare workers but is still significant due to the number of different people they interact with. Backline workers do not hold positions that involve public interaction. This includes jobs such as warehouse employees in which the main threat of the virus spreading comes from coworkers. Finally, isolated employees are those who work from home or otherwise have little to no interaction with anyone else.
Face Masks & Shields
Face masks serve two functions. The lesser of these functions is that they may offer some protection against the wearer inhaling microdroplets that contain the virus. However, the major function is to prevent the wearer from spreading the virus. It does this by capturing the droplets as they exit the mouth and nose before they can spread through the air.
There are four major categories of face masks: N95, KN95, 3-ply disposable, and cloth masks. N95 respirator masks offer the highest protection against the virus but are reserved solely for healthcare workers who need them most. If you are not a healthcare worker, KN95 respirator masks are the next best option. These masks are available to the wider public and offer nearly the same level of protection as N95 masks. 3-Ply disposable masks are not as protective as N95 and KN95 respirators, but they are still protective. These are the stereotypical, paper surgical masks you often see surgeons wearing in non-pandemic times. 3-Ply masks should be disposed of after a single use.
Cloth masks are the fourth type and the one best suited to the greater civilian population (non-healthcare workers). They still effectively prevent the wearer from spreading the virus, they come in an unlimited number of customizable designs (including branded options), and they are washable and reusable. For these reasons, cloth face masks are perfect for frontline and backline workers on the job.
Face shields are another option when it comes to PPE. They are clear, plastic shields that cover the face. One potential benefit of shields over masks is that they cover the mouth, nose, and eyes from droplets from the front. However, they do not offer the same peripheral protection as masks, and so they are typically worn in conjunction with a mask.
While soap and water is the best way to kill viruses on your hands, they aren’t always readily available or convenient. That’s where hand sanitizer comes in. Hand sanitizer bottles come in sizes from one to 16 ounces, can be refillable, and can even be clipped onto bags, belt loops, or keys. Bottle caps can also either be standard flip-top caps, spray caps, or pump caps. With all this variation, hand sanitizer bottles can be used for any industry and in any location. Workers who are out in the field can be equipped with travel-sized bottles, while retail stores and shipping warehouses can be equipped with larger, pump sanitizing stations.
Social Distancing Graphics
Social distancing graphics are used to remind both customers and employees to stay at least six feet apart. The three main types of social distancing graphics are posters, signs, and adhesive floor graphics. Stores can use them in register areas, lines, aisles, and front doors; restaurants can use them on windows and near take-out areas; and warehouses can use them in areas with high traffic. Anywhere that groups of people tend to congregate is a good spot to feature these graphics.
PPE has become a staple of the workplace not only across the United States but around the world. Face masks and shields are the most prevalent form of PPE, with face masks alone including four types with differing levels of effectiveness, reusability, and cost. For the majority of situations, cloth face masks are going to be the best option, but respirators and 3-ply masks are better under certain circumstances. Hand sanitizer and social distancing graphics are other ways you can keep both your customers and employees safe. There are multiple bottle sizes and cap options when it comes to hand sanitizer. And there are different types of social distancing graphics you may be interested in depending on where and how they are going to be used.
PPE from Safeguard Premier Branding Solutions
Safeguard Premier Branding Solutions is your distributor for all things workplace PPE. We have short lead times on some of the most sought after PPE items, including KN95 respirator masks and hand sanitizer. Contact your local Safeguard Premier representative today for more information on the types and quantities of PPE we carry.