PPE and the Pandemic – 4 Tips for Sourcing Good Quality PPE During the Pandemic
We all know by now that wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) dramatically reduces the spread of viruses like COVID-19 through minimizing contact with bodily fluids. You have probably seen the meme demonstrating that if two people have no clothes on and one of them wees on the other, the second person gets wet. If the second person is wearing pants, they get less wet. If they are both wearing pants, only the person weeing gets wet.
The theory makes perfect sense, but what do you do when sourcing PPE is challenging? Manufacturers have been struggling to keep up with the demand since the beginning of 2020, but using these tips will help.
Have a Range of Reliable Suppliers
You may have a tried and true medical supplier that you’ve been dealing with for many years, but 2020 taught us that you need to have a range of potential wholesalers from whom you can source medical equipment online or in-store.
When searching for new suppliers, consider not just where they are located but also where they get their stock. Ideally, it would be best to look at both locally manufactured and foreign options to maximize the breadth of possibilities.
The Right Equipment for the Job
The equipment you need depends on your role and the nature of your business. If you are delivering the mail, you need a face mask, but you can give the particulate filter respirator a miss.
Suppose you are a health worker caring for people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19. In that case, you need to consider more thoroughgoing PPE such as protective eyewear like safety goggles, a long-sleeved apron or gown, disposable gloves, and surgical masks.
If you are a healthy member of the public with a robust immune system who is heading to the supermarket to do your weekly shopping, a reusable face mask and gloves along with a healthy dose of social distancing should be sufficient to protect yourself. For all of the above, having a reliable supply of hand sanitizer is always a good idea.
Ensure Stringent Product Testing and Quality Control
Don’t assume that all PPE is created equally. Chinese factories are under colossal demand to ship unprecedented quantities of face masks, aprons, and disposable gloves. Quality control issues are relatively common in manufacturing, and it isn’t unheard of for factories to rush a shipment and skip these processes altogether.
Equipment should be undergoing a visual check and quality tests, including flammability, airflow, dye penetration, waterproofing, and sterilization. Whether you are ordering directly or via a third party, it is worth asking a few questions around the product testing and quality control procedures that are being followed at a manufacturing level and when the order is received.
Allow Some Extra Time
It is safe to assume that every item you order at present will be delayed. In Dubai, they even had to postpone releasing the coronavirus vaccine due to shipping delays. With this in mind, it is worthwhile increasing the system lead times for your PPE to ensure that a replacement order is triggered sooner rather than later.
The US government is aware of the shortage of personal protective equipment and how essential it is to citizens’ health and safety. President Joe Biden recently announced measures to combat the pandemic and ensure sufficient medical supplies for all. The plan includes a full inventory of resources, increased local manufacturing, and improved distribution of supplies. However, it’s still worth following the tips above to ensure you’re never caught short when it comes to these valuable supplies.