A term we’ve seen thrown around more than ever during the last 5 months has been ‘PPE’. Personal protective equipment has been the center of debate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care workers are struggling to find the correct PPE to face the virus, but theirs isn’t the only work field that needs PPE. Keep reading to find out what PPE means, who needs it, and what type of PPE you can find on eBay.
What is PPE?
The acronym PPE stands for ‘personal protective equipment’. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), PPE is “equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses”. These injuries can be the result of contact with various workplace hazards, that vary from job to job.
For example, people in the electrical field may need a certain type of PPE to avoid injuries from electrical hazards, and radiology technicians need to protect themselves from radiation properly. Other types include chemical, mechanical, physical, or biological hazards.
OSHA explains that “all personal protective equipment should be safely designed and constructed, and should be maintained in a clean and reliable fashion. It should fit comfortably, encouraging worker use. If the personal protective equipment does not fit properly, it can make the difference between being safely covered or dangerously exposed”.
In the medical context, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines PPE as “a barrier between an individual's skin, mouth, nose, or eyes, and viral and bacterial infections”. For PPE to be used in medical, surgical, or dental situations, they must be regulated by the FDA.
Just as it varies from job to job, medical PPE can vary depending on the specific situation. For example, there are different risks when treating a patient with the flu and a patient with a suspected case of COVID-19. Some of the main PPE used in medical settings include:
- Medical masks
- Respirators (N95 respirators or FFP2 standard, or equivalent)
- Eye protection
PPE you can buy on eBay
A lot of people go to eBay for their online purchases. This is an American e-commerce based in California. This company consists of an online auction and shopping website, where people and businesses purchase and sell all kinds of goods and services all over the world, including a wide array of PPE.
- Half and full mask respirators
These are respirators made of silicon or rubber, two types of plastic. They offer protection against a wide variety of respiratory hazards like gases, dust, vapors, and other agents that can cause injury or illness to the lungs and airways. The type of cartridge used will determine which type of hazard the mask protects against.
The main difference between half and full-face respirators is the protection of the eyes. Half face respirators need an extra piece of equipment to protect the eyes, while full face masks cover the whole face.
- Face shields
Face shields are a great piece of equipment that is very useful right now to add extra protection against the coronavirus. It’s a type of PPE that protects the wearer’s entire face from getting into contact with various types of dangerous substances or hazards, like flying objects, chemical splashes, or potentially infectious material.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of the face shield paired with disposable face masks and goggles has been effective. However, the CDC doesn’t recommend using the face shield as a substitute for a mask.
For people who work with their hands, gloves are crucial for protection. The hands are one of the most exposed parts of our skin, and working with your hands means a greater risk of coming into contact with dangerous substances or getting injured by physical or mechanical hazards.
OSHA considers these types of gloves as PPE:
- Fabric and Coated Fabric Gloves
- Insulating Rubber Gloves
- Chemical- and Liquid-Resistant Gloves
- Leather, Canvas or Metal Mesh Gloves
- Goggles and spectacles
According to OSHA, safety spectacles are intended to shield the eyes from what are known as 'impact hazards' (flying fragments, large chips, particles, etc.). So, any job that includes flying objects requires the use of this type of spectacles.
On the other hand, safety goggles are intended for the same use, but they fit the face immediately surrounding the eyes, sealing them completely. Unlike spectacles, goggles prevent any objects from entering around the goggles.
- Disposable face masks
A disposable face mask, also known as a regular medical or surgical mask, is not an N95 respirator. These are designed to be used health care professionals during procedures, preventing droplets and aerosols from getting out of the wearer's mouths. They don't protect the wearer from inhaling airborne pathogens.
These have been cleared by the CDC to be used by the general public to protect them from the Sars-Cov-2, leaving N95 masks for workers at the frontline of the pandemic.
- Protective hoods
Powered air-purifying respirators are hoods that protect the whole head, not only the face. They use an integrated blower to ease breathability, while ensuring protection to the whole head, not just the mouth and nose. They don't require fit-testing, and can be easily decontaminated and cleaned.
We end this informative piece recommending readers to protect their families, kids, and community, by protecting themselves. Ensure your full safety by practicing social distancing, and wearing a mask when going out of the house for necessary things.