Personal Protective Equipment for Sanitation Workers26 Aug 2020 - Flaaim
The importance of personal protective equipment or PPE has always been talked about quite a bit over the past many decades. However, the importance of PPE for the front line sanitation workforce has become even more important after the covid-19 pandemic that has affected millions of people across the world. There is no doubt that these sanitation workforce are the front-line workers and therefore it is quite obvious that they should be well protected against various health hazards
They Are Dealing With Infectious Viruses & Germs
When we talk about the PPE, the list is quite big. It includes gloves, respirators, aprons, fall protection devices and also suits for the full body, apart from complete and total foot, eye and head protection. We need to bear in mind that the Covid-19 virus is extremely infectious and contagious. Unless the sanitation workers are well protected, it is quite obvious that they will be at great risk of infection. If they catch the covid-19 virus and other viruses, it is quite obvious that the doctors, nurses and other staff also are at great risk.
Their Safety is Safety of All Concerned
More importantly, the patients also become exposed to a much higher risk of infection. Therefore, it would be naïve to look at the personal safety of sanitation workers from a narrow prism. Their protection, health and well-being is intricately and directly linked to the overall well-being of the entire stakeholders including nurses, doctors, patients, hospital administrative staff and other who come in direct contact with the sanitation workers.
It Goes Much Beyond Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities
When we talk about sanitation workers, we should not restrict their services to hospitals and the healthcare industry. Their roles are much bigger and extremely critical and important. These frontline soldiers ensure that they roads, markets, mall surroundings and other such places are clean and free from infection-causing waste materials and other such dangerous and toxic substances. Hence, when we talk about PPE for sanitation workers, we need to go beyond the narrow prism of the workers who are there in the healthcare industry or more specifically those who take care of covid-19 patients in government hospitals, private hospitals and nursing homes.
Hazards are Omnipresent
Every workplace that is serviced by sanitation workers have hazardous situations and the chances of these workers being infected is quite high. Therefore, the onus is on the public and private stakeholders to ensure that they are able to protect these workers from potential sources and places of infection. The right strategies and priorities should be follow. The focus should be on substitution, elimination and also putting in place the right engineering controls. The main objective should be to nip the problem at the source or at best in the path between the source of the infection and the worker. There are many methods, ways and approaches that could be thought of and there could be some changes in the approach depending on the specific situations that one should use and put in place.
PPE Should Be a Complementary Approach
While there is no doubt that PPE is extremely important, it cannot be the first and the last level of protection. In fact, in many situations, it is considered to be the last level of protection when other methods of protections are not available or not as reliable as they should be.
When planning a total and comprehensive protection strategy, there are a few things that one should bear in mind. While the protection of the workers is important, it is also important to be in compliance with the local regulations, laws, guidelines and standards. Further, if you are running a company, it should have the right guidelines and requirements in place.
The role and importance of personal protective gears and equipment for the frontline sanitation and health workers is as important as treating the patients or having the right number of qualified doctors and support staff in place.