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Managing supplies post Covid-19

Covid-19 has caused a significant rise in the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE). Respiratory protection(RPE), face protection and gloves have all been used to protect people during the pandemic and this shouldn’t be expected to stop once the pandemic calms.

Organisations may see a rise in the number of respiratory masks and gloves requested by workers. Workers may feel safer by continuing to use the safety controls put in place during the pandemic, in the case there is another outbreak.

Manufacturers and suppliers are dealing with a rise in requests for purchasing of equipment, therefore PPE supplies my not be as freely available for organisations to purchase as before the pandemic. Organisations need to manage their supplies as there will not only be a projected rise in request for supplies but also potential theft of supplies, which both come at a cost to an organisation.

Without neglecting workers and refusing PPE, organisations need to be sensitive to workers needs following such a frightening and disruptive period.

At the same time organisations need to ensure they are smart following lengthy layoffs, as they will have been generating little to no income, in some circumstances. By giving away PPE for any small task will come at a significant cost. Organisations should conduct a risk assessment in order to establish what controls can be used prior to using PPE, if PPE is required the risk assessment should determine what PPE is necessary for the specific job/ task.

Checklist

Identifying what PPE is required for roles/ tasks will enable organisations to distribute the appropriate equipment to workers.  
Below is a list of checks for managing PPE supplies that might be considered by an organisation:  
Is all PPE securely locked away?  
Have checks been made to record a total number of each piece of PPE available?  
Has appropriate PPE been identified for all roles/ tasks?  
If a worker is requesting PPE, is it required in order for the worker to complete his job/ task?  
Is there a procedure in place for issuing PPE supplies?  
If so, does the procedure include what measures are to be taken if a worker is consistently requesting new PPE?  
Is there a PPE issue form to document what PPE a worker has requested?  
Is there a register in place to document how much and what types of PPE a worker has requested and how frequently they have requested it?  
Are frequent audits of PPE supplies being conducted?  

 

If a certain type of PPE has being identified unnecessary for a worker to complete a task, it should be refused, unless they can clarify why it is appropriate.