While many businesses across the state are providing PPE, others have voiced that supply is a challenge. There is also a sense of concern that purchasing PPE is taking needed supply from health care professionals directly caring for COVID patients.
The priority with PPE is respiratory protection and adhering to OSHA requirements. Employers will need to understand the difference between face coverings and face masks, i.e. surgical masks and respirators, or N-95 respirators.
Communication is Key
- Employers are experiencing a growing anxiety from employees at implementation of PPE – for example it was initially suggested masks were not necessary whereas they are now recommended. The change can cause concern as employees wonder why it was not a practice previously being followed. It is important that employers communicate from the outset and provide credible resources on the changing guidance. You must be transparent about the fact that it could continue to change and evolve but that you are watching it daily.
- Remind employees that PPE does not replace all other suggested personal hygiene measures. Wearing a mask is not an excuse to decrease hand washing and sanitization. It is perhaps even more important to wash hands given increased face touching with the mask.
- Teach people how to wear PPE properly and encourage staff and managers to enforce proper technique. Protect one another.