Basic Elements of PPE Explained

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the best gear for anyone who comes into contact with potentially hazardous materials and provides a necessary layer of protection, keeping the wearer safe from harm, injury, and/or illness. From full physical isolation and vapor protection to typical construction site gear, there is a wide range of PPE. While it’s important to know the level of hazmat protections and to identify which one works for your specific scenario, it’s also critical to know the basic elements of effective PPE. From quality and quantity to use and occasion, we’ve broken them down here. 

Quality

Since PPE is designed to keep the wearer safe, it is critical that all equipment chosen consists of high quality materials and are made by manufacturers following extremely high standards. One example of this you may be familiar with given the recent COVID-19 pandemic is a face mask. 

When it became mandatory to wear a face mask while in public places for everyone, there was a huge range in the type and quality of masks sold. Cloth masks became popular for their comfort and some people opted for bandanas for ease of use, but NIOSH-approved masks that offered the best protection and continue to be recommended by the CDC are N95 respirators. These N95 masks filter at least 95% of particles in the air and when worn consistently and properly, they provide the highest level of protection from particles including the virus that causes COVID-19.

The quality of your PPE is critical to ensuring you have the highest level of protection. For more on the OSHA standards that they require many categories of personal protective equipment to meet or be equivalent to, click here.

Quantity

Anyone who works in a field that requires PPE knows how critical it is to have high quality equipment readily available for workers. The quantity is therefore extremely important as employers will need to make sure they have enough on hand to keep everyone safe at any given moment. The healthcare industry and other specialized fields like biohazard cleanup have standard operating procedures in place to ensure their inventory always meets their demand, so that workers are safe and protected and never have to repurpose PPE or wear damaged or old equipment.

Use

Having high quality equipment readily available is important, but it doesn’t matter much if it isn’t worn properly. Anyone who wears PPE must use / wear it following the proper placement guidelines to obtain the ultimate level of protection. Those who wear PPE at the workplace are required to have been trained by their employers so they are always prepared to use it correctly and effectively. Proper disposal of the PPE after use is also important to help avoid any exposure after leaving any space that contains potentially hazardous materials.

Occasion

Because there are so many types of PPE available, the type that you choose can vary greatly and depends on the situation. This is where following the four levels of hazmat protection can come in handy. From full body protection including a full-face self-contained breathing apparatus for the most dangerous situations to basic construction site gear like a hard hat, safety boots, and glasses, these levels help you determine the level of risk based on the occasion and scenario so you can select the appropriate PPE. Companies that work often with hazardous materials are trained to quickly assess situations to determine the level of protection necessary to keep their employees safe.

Hazmat protection used by biohazard cleanup companies

At Xtreme Cleaners we are proud to be a professional biohazard cleanup company with a team of experts who are specifically trained in cleaning, handling, and properly disinfecting contaminated spaces. We are proud to be available 24/7 to help so you can safely return to your home with the peace of mind that you deserve. If you or someone you know needs help decontaminating a space in Louisiana, give our team a call at 800-524-9591.