PPE in the Workplace: 5 Important Steps of Proper PPE Disposal

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is now a part of daily life. If you’ve implemented a personal protective equipment plan in your workplace, you’re likely searching for guidelines for proper PPE disposal. While it’s something else for operations leaders to focus on, PPE in the workplace is proven to be effective.

A recent study looked at 100 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and measured the presence of the virus in droplet and aerosol form. When patients were wearing masks, they didn’t exhale any coronavirus aerosols or droplets, adding to the body of evidence asserting that wearing masks effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Now that you know you must put a protective equipment plan into action, how are you planning to handle PPE disposal?

Keep reading to learn more about using PPE in the workplace and best practices when disposing of the contaminated materials.

What Is Personal Protective Equipment?

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is worn to minimize one’s exposure to hazards that can cause serious workplace illnesses and injuries.

These illnesses and injuries may result from contact with radiological, chemical, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other hazards. PPE may include safety glasses, gloves, earplugs or muffs, respirators, hard hats, coveralls, full body suits, and vests.

Ensuring Proper Use

All PPE should be safely designed and constructed and maintained reliably and cleanly.

PPE should fit comfortably to encourage worker use. If it doesn’t fit properly, it can mean the difference between being adequately and safely covered or severely exposed.

When work practices, engineering, and administrative controls do not provide sufficient protection, you must provide PPE to your employees and ensure that they use it properly.

You’re also required to train workers who must use personal protective equipment to know:

  • What kind is necessary
  • When it is necessary
  • How to properly put it on, wear, adjust, and take it off
  • Limitations of the PPE
  • Proper maintenance and care, useful life, and disposal

If you implement a plan to use PPE in your work environment, a program should be executed. It should address the hazards present in the workplace, the selection and use of PPE, employee training, and the plan’s monitoring to ensure ongoing effectiveness.

Implement Best Practices

Once you’ve created your PPE plan, purchase your equipment, and put it into action. It’s time to implement best practices and observe your employees and improve your plan down the road if needed.

Ensure Good Fit

First, work with your employees to ensure they know how PPE is designed to fit. If they misuse it, it won’t effectively protect the employee and those around them.

Take the time to measure each member of your team and identify which type of PPE they’ll need. When more than one type is required, make sure each item is compatible with the others.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has put forth engineering guidelines around various hazards found on job sites. Make sure you purchase PPE that adheres to these standards.

Invest in Automated Vending Machines

Make it easy for your employees to purchase or access PPE by installing PPE vending machines. Sure, the cost upfront is more, but you’ll save money, time and possibly lives in the long run.

Train your employees on how to use the machines, so they don’t waste any PPE. You’ll also need to designate an employee or team to manage the machines, so they’re always stocked and running properly.

Audit Your Equipment Continuously

Personal protective equipment is the last line of defense for you and your employees. For this reason, respect your PPE regularly to be sure it is effective at all times.

Some employees will be stubborn about wearing PPE, so instead of punishing them for not wearing it properly, ask what the problem is. Sometimes equipment makes it uncomfortable or difficult to do their job. Maybe there is something more practical and wearable that will do the job.

Create a Safety Culture Around PPE

Eventually, safe PPE practices should become part of your company’s culture. Don’t just train your employees on how to wear it, but communicate why PPE is important.

And don’t stop there. Look for new opportunities to allow your workers to guide and mentor their peers in a positive manner. Consider a PPE donning activity during a company talk or new employee mentorship program.

Perform Regular Inspections

PPE isn’t designed to last forever. You regularly audit and inspect other areas of your business for safety, so it’s equally important to conduct these regular inspections of your personal protective equipment.

Safe PPE Disposal

If personal protective equipment isn’t disposed of correctly, it can introduce more harm than good.

Imagine an employee touching potentially contaminated PPE and then going about their day, touching door handles and other surfaces. All of a sudden, the disease runs rampant throughout your organization.

The World Health Organization recommends that gloves, face masks, and paper tissues should be hygienically disposed of in a closed bin once removed safely.

Set your employees up for success by making sure you have the right facilities in place for PPE disposal:

  • Show employees and visitors that you care by offering easy PPE disposal at your workplace
  • Incorporate touch-free closed bins for high standards of hygiene
  • Treat each unit with EPA registered, hospital-grade disinfectant to kill potentially harmful viruses
  • Place disposal points throughout high-traffic areas of your facility, such as entrance and exit points, parking garages, near elevators, kitchens, lobbies, and more.

Consult OSHA Guidelines

OSHA’s Safety Health and Program Management Guidelines provide recommendations for you to consider as you build your PPE program. The guidelines cover four main areas, including:

  • Management leadership and employee involvementÂ
  • Worksite analysis
  • Safety and health training
  • Hazard prevention and control

Are You Well-Stocked With Workplace PPE?

All businesses should review their current PPE disposal procedures to ensure they’re taking appropriate steps to manage risk and hazards.

Stay one step ahead and ensure that your business is adequately protected with all of the necessary hygienic facilities onsite. Then do your due diligence to dispose of contaminated PPE properly with MedSharps.

If you’re not a current MedSharps customer and would like to request a free quote, fill out our online form or call. (888) 620-4899 today.

Medical Waste Disposal: What Are the Challenges?

Medical Waste Disposal: What Are the Challenges?

medical waste disposal, biohazard wasteIf you don’t follow proper medical waste disposal procedures, there could be serious consequences. There’s the obvious, such as the danger to your patients, staff and the community. There could also be consequences to your facility, even if no one was hurt. There could be fines or a loss in reputation that will affect your business. That is why it’s so vital to choose the right company to help with your biohazard waste removal. Here are some of the challenges faced when disposing of medical waste. Continue reading “Medical Waste Disposal: What Are the Challenges?”

How Improper Medical Waste Disposal Affects Our Oceans

How Improper Medical Waste Disposal Affects Our Oceans

Medical Waste DisposalWell, it is that time of year again. Soon the college kids from around the country will flock to warm weather spots to hang out on the beach and enjoy their spring break. Their parents and even their schools have probably warned them about being safe while they are out having fun, but they most likely did not talk to them about the safety of the actual water and beaches.

Unfortunately, improper medical waste disposal can have a disastrous effect on our oceans, meaning that where those kids are currently frolicking, whether it is in Virginia, North Carolina, or anywhere else, those might not be the healthiest spots to be.

Continue reading “How Improper Medical Waste Disposal Affects Our Oceans”

The Difference Between Biohazard and Medical Waste Disposal

The Difference Between Biohazard and Medical Waste Disposal

biohazard waste disposal, medical waste disposalHealthcare facilities are required to train their employees on the different types of waste, and the disposal methods of each type. The two main differences that all employees must be aware of include medical waste disposal and biohazard waste disposal. Facilities should have biohazard containers that are easily identifiable. However, it’s always a good thing to have a refresher on the types of waste and the disposal methods of each, so there is no confusion. A minor mistake could lead to some major health consequences no one wants to deal with. Continue reading “The Difference Between Biohazard and Medical Waste Disposal”

Medical Waste Disposal Procedures: A Training Guide

Medical Waste Disposal Procedures: A Training Guide

medical waste disposal, medical waste disposal companiesAnyone in the healthcare industry knows there are many laws and regulations governing the safe disposal of medical waste. In addition to staff members having to go through medical hazardous waste disposal training, medical waste companies have to go through training and be certified as well.

However, in order for both parties to remain compliant with the many regulations, going through training programs occasionally is a necessity. Laws change frequently, so everyone benefits from keeping current on the latest compliance regulations. Here are some more factors to consider regarding medical waste disposal procedures.

Continue reading “Medical Waste Disposal Procedures: A Training Guide”