As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to loom over the country, many businesses are forced to rethink their priorities.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) has always been necessary to keep employees safe, but it’s more important than ever as it begins to face shortages. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently determined that PPE manufacturing needs to increase by 40% to meet rising global demand.
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As the hysteria surrounding PPE continues, where do you turn for supplies?
The good news is there are resources available. Here’s a quick PPE guide to finding what you need:
Know What Type of PPE You Need (And How Much)
Before placing a bulk order for PPE, it’s important to take an accurate inventory of what you currently have. Since it’s much harder to get a hold of these days, devising a PPE game plan will help alleviate a lot of stress.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) breaks down PPE into six protection types to determine which ones you need. Here are the types, along with a few examples:
- Eye and Face: Safety goggles (including laser safety), protective glasses, face shields, and welding shields
- Head: Safety helmets and hard hats
- Foot and Leg: Protective shoes, leggings, shin guards, and toe guards
- Hand and Arm: gloves, finger guards, and arm coverings
- Body: Lab coats, surgical gowns, vests, aprons, and other full-body protection
- Hearing: Single-use or pre-molded earplugs and earmuffs
Do Your Research
When people think of PPE suppliers, many big brands come to mind – Honeywell, 3M, Ansell, DuPont, MSA Safety, etc. – but they’re not the only vendors capable of delivering what you need. Here are some tips to help you explore all options for PPE:
Check your local government’s website: Some local governments are beginning to supply PPE in the wake of COVID-19. At the least, most are providing resources and links to local businesses that offer what you need.
Search for specific supplies: Try searching for particular items: face masks, gloves, sanitizers, etc. You’ll be surprised to find several non-health-related companies that offer medical supplies. Auto shops, construction companies, and cleaning companies are just a few.
Reach out to your local community: A strong community comes together in times of crisis, and that’s exactly what’s happening in many cities across the country. Reach out to local leaders, businesses, or business partners for advice and guidance. Some communities and businesses may provide PPE donations as well.
Beware of PPE Scams
Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus pandemic, scammers are “selling” PPE on fake websites that you’ll never receive. Here are some ways to spot frauds before they get a hold of your money:
- Make sure the URL has an “S” at the end of “HTTP”
- If you’re unsure, check for information like a phone number or address and contact them to see if they exist
- Always be skeptical of sites claiming to have an overabundance of hard-to-get-items, or if the prices seem unusually low
- Stay cautious, a lot of scam sites are copycats of legitimate websites
PPE Is Still Available
While locating PPE for your business may take some time in the COVID-19 era, it’s still possible. Knowing how and where to find resources helps ease the stress surrounding your search.
Remain diligent, use local business and resources, and stay committed to providing your business the safety it needs.
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