Personal protective equipment is usually disposable, but it can also be reusable.
One of the most important jobs on your cleaning team then becomes creating a personal protective gear program that outlines how to effectively clean and wash the gear. For an elastomeric respirator, for example, on-the-job cleaning could involve disinfectant wipes, with a more thorough clean every three to four days, depending on use.
As a rule, all PPE must have its own storage unit or area, where it is clean and sanitary. This storage makes sure that the uniforms and gear itself do not cause illness over time and aid in the spread of disease instead of curbing it.
- Always make sure to read the labels on your gear. They will tell you how long each item can and should be used for. Throw the immediately disposable stuff away in a sealed container.
- Check to see if your PPE is chemical resistant or if it is only water resistant; many types of gloves, for example, are permeable, and they allow pathogens and chemicals to be absorbed through the skin during use. Check on the chemicals you are using; there are many different types of gloves—from neoprene, latex, and PVC to rubber—and each protects from a specific set of chemicals.
- Any damaged PPE gear must be thrown away; it cannot be unsealed or allow harmful chemicals to reach the skin.
- All reusable PPE must be washed after use on the same day and be freshly laundered and ready for action for the following day.
- Rubber gloves, eye shields, and reusable masks can be cleaned with soap and water and disinfected with the appropriate cleaning material after being soaked clean.
- The correct storage and cleaning of your protective equipment will make sure that it is more comfortable to wear and does not impede any work tasks. If a piece of equipment does become too cumbersome or slows down productivity, a replacement should be sought.
When your cleaning team strips off their PPE at the end of the day, they should wash their hands thoroughly and be sure to take daily showers too. The cleaner they can be, the less transference of bacteria will happen when they get into their gear the following day again
Remember that your clients or customers may see your cleaning staff wearing these outfits, so it is in your best interest to keep them clean and stain free. It is a huge opportunity to not only clean better than larger competitors but to do so in a safer manner.
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