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Give your employees these three types of PPE to prevent infections and illness

by , 09 January 2015
The OHS Act says you must give your employees personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect them against hazards in their workplace.

But did you know PPE isn't just about protecting your employees from cuts and bumps? It's also crucial to stopping the spread of infections.

After all, since PPE creates a barrier between your employee and possible germs or bacteria, it can keep them safe from infections.

But not all PPE does this.

That's why you need to give your employees these three types of PPE...


Your employees must use these three types of PPE to protect them from infections

1. Face masks
Face masks filter the air your employees breathe. This removes all the dirt and germs from the air. 
As a result, they're less likely to pick up airborne infections, such as lung or throat infection. There are two types of face masks you can give your employees:
1. Disposable face masks work well for preventing the spread of sicknesses. These are similar to the kinds of masks doctors wear. Just remember, your employees can use these once and must throw them away after that. 
2. Dust masks are strong enough that your employees can use them over and over again. Even though these masks primarily help filter dust from the air, they help with the spread of infections too. 
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2. Gloves
Gloves, even fabric ones, can help stop the spread of infections by creating a barrier between your employees' skin and germs. 
The best kind of gloves to prevent infections is rubber latex gloves. Because these are tight fitting and you only use them once, germs can't make contact with your employees.
But if your employees have to wear normal fabric gloves, make sure you wash them regularly. Otherwise, they'll carry more germs than they prevent. 
3. Overalls 

Any kind of protective clothing your employees wear over their normal clothes can protect them against infections. 
For example, if your employee has a cut on his arm, his overalls can stop it getting full of dirt and getting infected. 
But your employees' overalls must be clean. Otherwise they can cause an infection of their own because of all the germs and bacteria on them. 
The key to making sure your employees' PPE keeps them safe from infections is to make sure it's hygienic 
This means you must:
- Wash it regularly;
- Stop employees from sharing PPE; and
- Throw out old or expired safety gear. 
This way, your employees' safety wear won't become an infection risk. 
To find out if you need PPE to protect your employees from infections do a risk assessment to look for health risks. The Risk Assessment Toolkit will show you how to do this.
To find out more about what PPE your employees might need, check out the Health and Safety Advisor.

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