PPE for waste handlers

PPE for waste handlers is a somewhat thorny subject – many do not wear it, even when it is provided while others, many others, assume that a corporate sweatshirt or similar top and a pair of reinforced trousers are an adequate accompaniment to a pair of gloves.

Splashes to the body, of blood and body fluids and of other liquids from waste sacks are while emptying or washing waste carts, are not uncommon. In an as yet unpublished survey of south coast waste handlers, the abdomen and chest were splattered in small splashes within an hour. Though often small and sometimes unrecognised, these splashes contaminate basic work wear leasing to widespread hygiene problems and defeating hand washing and personal hygiene.

Making this worse, work wear (tops and trousers) is often worn to go home at the end of the shift, contaminating the family car or the bus, and the pub, supermarket or bookies if there is a stop on route!

An overall or apron would help tremendously, as long as this is removed at break times and at the end of shift. Disposable aprons would be ideal.

A new product if available from one of the disposables suppliers that might be valuable in this situation. Aimed at healthcare staff, these heavy-duty aprons at least protect the torso and should be effective in reducing contamination. According to the supplier, they

  • Provides a higher level of protection for staff
  • Facilitates an effective infection control strategy
  • Eliminates the risk of cross-contamination to staff and patients
  • Superior tear resistance

In line with the policy of no advertising on the Forum, a link will not be provided here but can be made available by email.

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