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'Sharing is caring' isn't a safe or hygienic philosophy when it comes to PPE

by , 01 August 2014
We all know that saying, 'sharing is caring'. We probably all heard it when we were little and our mothers wanted us to play with other children.

But in the real world there are plenty of things you really shouldn't share.

When it comes to health and safety, personal protective equipment (PPE) is one of those things. You must give each employee his own PPE and never let them share.

Here's why...

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If your company employs five or more employees, it must meet the minimum first aid requirements.

Sharing PPE is extremely unhygienic 

Just like all clothes, your employees' protective clothing picks up germs and bacteria as they wear it. This isn't a problem when they wear their own PPE as they build up a resistance to the bacteria.
The problem comes in when they share or swap PPE.
They won't have a resistance to each others' bacteria. This means they're vulnerable to illness and infections.
Each employee must have his own PPE to prevent this problem.
But sharing PPE can cause more than just a hygiene risk; it's a safety risk too.

If employees share PPE, it could leave them without protection 

Let's say one of your employees forgets his hard hat at home. So he borrows his co-worker's hard hat while he's working on some scaffolding.
But then he puts the hat down and it disappears. Now you don't just have one employee without his safety gear, but two.
This increases your employees' risk of having serious injuries.
So ensure each of your employees has his own PPE. Give them a place to store it at work to prevent them from leaving it at home. 
Also wash their safety wear regularly to remove unhealthy bacteria build up, even if your employees don't share.
This is the best way to ensure your employees stay safe and healthy at work.
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Are you 100% compliant? How can you be sure?

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