Personal Protection and Safety Supplies in Facilities
This report provides an overview of personal protective equipment and safety equipment used in facilities. Part (A) includes safety equipment used by cleaning staff and warehouse workers in different situations such as biohazard risks. Hand protection, eye protection, and foot protection are leading concerns. Part (B) provides personal protective equipment used by general staff at healthcare facilities, including masks, gowns, and aprons.
Part (A): This section identifies safety equipment used by cleaning staff and warehouse workers.
Safety Equipment Used by Cleaning Staff
- Custodial employees should always be provided with gloves, and they should particularly be used when cleaning restrooms. Depending on the types of potential exposure that an employee is at risk for, the gloves should protect the skin from absorbing harmful substances, severe cuts or lacerations, severe abrasions, punctures, chemical burns, thermal burns, and harmful temperature extremes, according to OSHA.
- When a custodial employee is cleaning a bathroom with a biohazard risk inside it, the employee should wear disposable gloves, protective gowns or uniforms, and protective eyewear and masks or face shields, according to OSHA guidelines.
- Custodial employees are required to wear protective footwear whenever working in areas where there is a risk of falling objects or objects piercing the sole. While not a requirement, slip-resistant shoes are recommended and cut slip and fall rates in half.
- Eye protection that provides additional protection from the sides (such as googles) is required by OSHA when custodial employees are dealing with situations in which objects (such as dust) or liquids are airborne.
- Rubber aprons are recommended equipment for custodial staff who are using chemicals to prevent splashing through clothing.
- Custodial staff should wear safety glasses in particular when changing light bulbs, dusting ceiling vents, or manually diluting any chemical with water.
- Employees operating heavy floor equipment like buffers, scrubbers, or carpet machines should wear anti-vibration gloves to reduce the risk of carpal tunnel.
Safety Equipment Used by Warehouse Workers
- When a warehouse employee is exposed to loud environments, disposable earplugs are recommended by OSHA. The recommended levels of protection depending on exposure are available here.
- Employees who experience continuous exposure to loud environments are advised to wear earmuffs.
- Employees in a warehouse should always wear hardhats when they are at risk of objects falling onto their heads, according to OSHA. Employees driving a forklift, for example, should wear a hardhat due to small objects that could fall through the equipment's roof and strike them. Any employee walking down an aisle is vulnerable to head injury and should wear a hardhat.
- Employees in a warehouse should wear high visibility jackets to ensure their safety as a best practice (not required by OSHA).
- In areas where falls are potentially risky (stairs, ledges, and inclines), anti-slip tape should be installed to prevent falls.
- Warehouse workers who kneel frequently should be equipped with kneepads.
- In warehouses where employees do frequent heavy lifting, industrial floor mats with impact-absorbing features are recommended to reduce strain on knees, ankles, and shins.
Part (B): This section identifies safety equipment utilized by the general staff of healthcare facilities.
Safety Equipment Used by General Staff at Healthcare Facilities
- All hospital staff should wear gloves when there is a high risk of contact with blood or other bodily fluids.
- All hospital staff should wear masks when there is a high danger of exposure to or transmission of germs. These masks should cover the nose and mouth to stop germs from spreading.
- Healthcare facility staff should wear respiratory masks that form a tight seal around the nose and mouth to prevent the spread of contagious small germs such as tuberculosis.
- Staff that handle certain drugs, such as cancer drugs, should wear a gown with long sleeves and elastic cuffs, shoe covers, goggles, and special gloves to prevent the liquid from touching skin. This is referred to as cytotoxic personal protective equipment.
- Employees who handle radiation equipment should wear lead aprons, lead gloves, opaque goggles, a pocket dosimeter, and a film badge.
- If an employee is at risk for splashed fluids, they should wear either a gown or an apron to protect their clothing and skin. Gowns can be fluid resistant or fluid proof depending on the risk involved with the fluid in question.