Personal protection equipment, which is more commonly known as PPE, has been a vital component throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, enabling people to use public transport, work in shops and other service industries and essentially get people back to work. We have a range of Coronavirus Personal Protection Equipment available, from a selection of face masks to visor guards and counter top screens. When do I need to wear Coronavirus PPE?
The government has stated that face coverings are used mainly to protect the spread of infection. By wearing one, it is not protecting you as such but preventing you from spreading any bacteria from the nose and mouth. This has been confirmed as the main source of transmission of the virus and thus preventative measures have been put in place to halt the spread of infection. There are a variety of face masks or face coverings that you can wear, some are disposable after one use and some can be used frequently. The current government guidelines stipulate that a face covering should be used in the following indoor locations in England:
Public transport, which includes trains, buses, trams and planes.
All transport hubs
Any shops or supermarkets and the shopping centres themselves
Premises offering professional, legal or financial services, such as a post office, bank or building society
Premises offering personal care/beauty treatments such as hairdressers, nail salons, tattoo parlours etc.
Any visitor attractions, including museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, bingo halls etc.
Places of worship
Any community centres or social clubs
The lobby of a hotel or hostel
Storage/lock up facilities
In addition to the list above, please do refer to government guidelines as these locations may change. It is also recommended that you should wear a face covering in indoor locations where social distancing with people you don’t know may take place. It is also important to factor in wearing face coverings to hospitals or GP surgeries as well as care homes.
As a business, what do I need to provide for my staff?
As a business, you have a duty of care to your employees. Each business should undertake a risk assessment to look at the risk of exposure for staff and customers and then plan your PPE accordingly. It may be that your business needs to provide a full set of PPE for your staff or it may be simply creating a provision of face masks and ensuring you have a good supply of hand sanitiser.
Are Coronavirus face masks required by law?
While there are a number of locations where it is stipulated a face mask should be worn, there are also a number of places where you can remove your mask, such as a restaurant where table service is taking place, when exercising or if required for identification purposes.
There are also a number of exemptions in terms of those who don’t need to wear a face coverings, including children under the age of 11, those who have a physical or mental disability, police officers, emergency workers and more.
There are some situations in which premises where face coverings are required should take reasonable steps to encourage compliance with the law. Police can also take measures if members of the public don’t comply with the law and transport operators are also able to deny access to their services if a passenger is not wearing a face covering. If absolutely required, the police and TfL (Transport for London) officers also have enforcement powers which enables them to issue fines of £100 (which would reduce to £50 if paid within 2 weeks). Fines will double for a repeat offence, and can continue to increase up to £3,200.
How much PPE equipment do I need?
As mentioned above, face masks/ coverings are a requirement for a number of indoor locations. Check with your employer regarding the use of a face mask within the workspace and whether one will be provided for you.
You will also need to use a face mask outside of your workplace, so it is worth looking at the various options available and deciding which one works best for you. Depending on the nature of your business, you may also need to look at a full face shield visor guard, which is essential for those working in close contact with other people, such as nurses, dentists, nail technicians and many more. These visors have anti-fog properties for improved vision, allow the user to wear glasses or protective eyewear and help to protect them for inadvertently touching their face. It has an adjustable universal fit for all face and head shapes.
In addition to visor guards, there are also counter top sneeze screens, which can help to prevent germs from spreading, protecting your member of staff and reducing the risk of transmission. The screens are freestanding, lightweight and easy to both install and move.
If you have a member of staff who is acting as a point of information, perhaps informing people of the new one way system, managing a queue or ensuring hand sanitiser is used, you may require some high visibility clothing for them to enable them to stand out and be recognisable to your customers.