It’s safe to say that over the past 12 months business owners have had to quickly react and adapt to the changing information being provided by governments during the Coronavirus pandemic. These unprecedented times have been a challenge for businesses everywhere, as they’ve fought to keep their business running successfully, whilst also doing what they can to keep their staff members safe and happy at work.
Knowing what to do for the best when it comes to keeping your staff safe during a pandemic, can be a bit of a minefield. There’s often conflicting information and advice out there. So we wanted to break down for you the essential PPE that you should be providing for your employees.
Remember that each PPE item we list below is industry dependent, so we’ll explain whether you might need to consider these items for your industry or not. Let’s dive in!
If your business is a customer facing business, then disposable gloves are a safety hygiene essential. However, they have to be used in the correct way otherwise they can actually be counterproductive.
If your staff are going to be wearing disposable gloves to prevent the spread of bacteria and germs, then they must dispose of them once they’ve finished a job. For instance, if they’re wearing them to serve a customer some food, they must change them before serving the next customer. This is crucial in avoiding cross contamination. Nitrile gloves are a popular option for preventing the spread of germs, this is because they protect wearers from a wide range of chemicals, as well as being tear resistant too. They’re thin enough to enable the wearer to still carry out a wide range of tasks, but will keep your hands dry and germ free.
Now we’d like to think you’re already providing face masks for your employees, since these have become mandatory by law across the UK in public facing environments. But even if your employees aren’t working in public facing environments, such as an office or warehouse, it is still advisable to offer them face masks to wear at their own discretion.
Some employees may simply feel more comfortable and happier taking this precaution, and others may not opt to wear a face mask all day long, but might like to wear one from time to time when they’re in close contact with their colleagues.
If your employees will be public facing, then a visor may be a more comfortable option for them. Not only does it offer complete protection across the whole face, it can also make it easier for your staff to communicate with customers, especially when serving customers with hearing disabilities who rely on lip-reading.
Another absolute essential – we’re sure you already have hand sanitiser dotted around your business to allow both your staff and potential customers to safely sanitise their hands of any potential germs. We’d also advise offering staff individual bottles of hand sanitiser to keep at their work station. Little steps like these can make all the difference to your employees feeling safe and secure in their workplace during a pandemic.
If your staff will be coming into close contact with customers, you might want to offer them a further level of PPE – a disposable apron. These affordable plastic coverings will prevent any potential germs transferring onto your employees skin or clothing. This additional level of protection is another positive step to take for your business during a pandemic.
We hope you have a better plan of action going forward, and you’ll be able to help your employees feel confident and happier at work. Remember that your employees’ happiness is instrumental to the successful running of your business, so it’s important to ensure they’re happy.
If they have any further concerns about working during a pandemic, then you should have an open conversation with them about what can be done to ease their concerns.