Naturally, we deal with a lot of questions from our customers, on how to select and correctly use the PPE supplies their staff need. Whilst getting the right gear is vital, it’s also important to make sure that your PPE is properly looked after and stored. PPE that is damaged, or in poor condition, can’t fully protect your employees from hazards and when it comes down to it, this equipment is the main defence they have from injuries and accidents.
Unless stated by the manufacturer, most items will not have an expiry date, so maintenance is key to longevity and guaranteed performance. It’s a good idea to make sure that, if you have to use replacement parts, for example on a respirator, they match the original. And always have a supply of replacement stock ready and waiting.
All equipment and protective clothing should be complete and in good condition each and every time it is used, so you may decide to instigate a regular programme of cleaning and maintenance. All of the equipment used by your team should be checked, before every use, by a competent person. This could be the user themselves, their manager, or the person responsible for issuing PPE.
Here are some top tips on how to take care of your PPE:
Keeping your head in the PPE maintenance game
Store head protection in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight. Use warm water and soap to clean hard hats and make sure they are fully air-dried before use. Always replace a hard hat immediately, if it has been dented, cracked or struck by a forcible blow.
Look over your eyewear carefully
Store glasses and goggles in a dust-proof pouch or case. Eyewear can be washed with mild soap and water. It’s good to rinse the lenses before wiping, to remove any dust or grit and avoid scratching the surface. Replace any eyewear that has scratched lenses or impairs the user’s vision in any way.
Have a breather and clean your mask
Masks and respirators should be stored somewhere dry and away from dust, light, extreme temperatures and chemicals. Keep the rubber seal or respirators in the normal position, so it holds the shape. Follow the manufacturer’s advice on cleaning and always check masks and respirators for deterioration, holes, cracks or any damage that could reduce protection.
Take a step towards well-maintained foot protection
Make sure all foot protection is kept clean, by wiping them with a cloth or paper towel after use. If boots are likely to get wet during use, it might be necessary to provide two pairs to your staff, so they have time to dry out. Check for signs of wear and replace boots that are damaged.
Be hands-on with glove care
Make sure your staff know if their gloves are reusable or not and if they are, how many times they can be worn before they need to be replaced. Always check gloves for holes or cracks and replace any that show signs of damage. Keep gloves clean and issue a second pair to workers who come into contact with liquids, so they can be properly dried between each use.
For more expert advice on how to look after your PPE, contact one of our experts on 0845 208 4500, or email [email protected].