By: Stephanie Hagan on June 17th, 2020
Top Five PPE Items to Purchase for Your Office
COVID-19 | 5 Min Read
COVID-19 has altered our perception of the workplace. Living rooms are being transformed into makeshift offices, conference room meetings have turned into virtual Zoom sessions, and employees are donning masks before they enter the office. As states slowly begin opening in phases, employees are trickling back into the workplace, but they will not immediately return to a pre-pandemic environment. There are certain social distancing measures and routine disinfection practices to follow, but with the right equipment, you can minimize the spread of COVID-19. As a supplier of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), we at Winvale know it’s important to make sure your employees are outfitted with the proper PPE they need to combat the virus. Here are the top five types of PPE you should purchase for your office to ensure the safety of your employees.
Wearing masks has become the norm, and in some states, it’s mandatory to wear one in enclosed public places. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends we wear masks in the workplace when social distancing is difficult to maintain, so your company will want to strongly consider wearing them in populated areas of the office, including the conference room and the break room. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, studies suggest wearing a mask can prevent you from unknowingly spreading the virus to others.
Here are three types of masks you can offer your employees to protect each other:
Respirators (KN95 and N95 masks)
Respirators like KN95 and N95 are the most reliable form of masks to protect against COVID-19. To pass the standards set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), they must filter out at least 95% of particles. Respirators have a tight fit around your face and keep smaller particles from reaching your mouth and nose. N95 masks should be reserved for healthcare personnel and other essential workers, but KN95 masks have similar features and are meant for commercial use.
Medical masks block out larger particles including droplets and splatters that may contain the virus. Medical masks have a loose fit around your face and do not always provide reliable protection from smaller particles, but they help prevent the mask wearer from spreading COVID-19 to others.
Cloth masks do not provide reliable protection from smaller airborne particles but are primarily worn to help the wearer from transmitting the virus. Cloth masks are easy to produce because they can be made at home with a few simple materials.
Since all three masks differ in their fit and protection, it’s important to give your employees the option to choose so they can decide which mask fits their face and preferences better.
2. Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer used to be a handy item we kept in our glove compartments and purses and often forgot about, but now it’s an essential product we don’t leave the house without.
Although washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water is an effective way to prevent the spread COVID-19, using an alcohol-based sanitizer is an easy alternative in the office when you don’t have quick access to a sink. As long as the hand sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol, studies show that it’s effective in killing COVID-19. Hand sanitizer should be placed at the entrance and exit of the office, in the bathrooms, and in the break room. Encouraging your employees to frequently clean their hands and the space around them will create a safer working environment for everyone.
3. Antibacterial Wipes/Disinfectants
It’s important to practice routine cleaning in the office, including workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, elevator buttons, and doorknobs. You should have antibacterial wipes or disinfectants available so employees can periodically wipe down their equipment and commonly used surfaces, however, not all cleaning solvents kill COVID-19. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an extensive list of certified disinfectants that kill the virus, but the main ingredients that eliminate COVID-19 include bleach, ammonia, and isopropyl or rubbing alcohol with at least 70% alcohol. Note: do not mix any of these chemicals, they can create toxic fumes.
4. Infrared Thermometers
Infrared thermometers are quickly becoming a hot commodity in the PPE market to heighten safety measures in the office. The CDC says employers should consider conducting daily health checks before anyone enters the office to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19, and infrared thermometers allow for an easy and efficient screening process.
Research shows that touchless infrared thermometers are just as accurate as other internal thermometers used to detect fevers, and they are also a more practical and hygienic tool for non-healthcare personnel to handle. Infrared thermometers are non-contact and read temperatures rapidly, so several employees can be scanned without rigorous cleaning in between.
Although COVID-19 cannot easily be transferred from surfaces, current evidence suggests that the virus may remain alive on surfaces for hours to days depending on the material. Gloves can be useful for cleaning frequently touched areas of the office, or for handling other employees’ equipment such as laptops and keyboards.
Gloves are not necessary to protect against COVID-19 in most situations, but the CDC suggests using gloves when cleaning or caring for someone who is sick. It’s important to note that gloves should be discarded often, and you should wash your hands before and after use.
Where Can I Find PPE for My Business?
With increased demand for PPE from healthcare workers as well as commercial businesses and individuals, PPE supply is strained across the globe. It can be difficult to find certain types of PPE especially in large quantities. However, it’s important that your business can purchase the appropriate equipment for its employees to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Even though there’s a worldwide shortage, Winvale is proud to offer several types of PPE including KN95 and 3-ply medical masks, gloves, touchless infrared thermometers, and hand sanitizer to commercial businesses, the government, and for individual use through a partnership with MediDent Supplies. If you’re interested in procuring PPE for your employees contact Winvale.