Safely Disposing Workplace Personal Protective Equipment

In order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, employees across the world are turning to personal protective equipment (PPE) in the workplace. As more and more workplaces reopen, safe disposal of PPE will become even more important. So what are the safest methods of disposing of PPE? And what services are available to help expedite the process? 

What does appropriate PPE look like? 

The types of workplace PPE can vary greatly depending on the work environment and also the services provided. PPE could include single-use gloves, aprons, gowns, respirators and face coverings like surgical masks, goggles or face shields. Employers should contact their local health unit and consult the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines in order to ensure they’re providing proper PPE based on their unique situations. 

PPE should be provided by the employer. If an employee wants to provide their own PPE, their employer must be able to ensure that they will follow the proper protocols in regards to cleaning, re-use and disposal, and that the PPE is properly suited for its intended purpose.

Safe Disposal

Wearing PPE helps to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, but only if it’s properly disposed of. In fact, if PPE is not properly disposed of, it can increase the likelihood of transmission. 

PPE generated from businesses reopening and employees returning to work does not legally require special disposal by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) That being said, cautious employers everywhere are seeking the best disposal methods to ensure the safety of their employees.  

According to the WHO, face masks, gloves and paper tissues should all be hygienically disposed of in a closed bin. Touchless bins are even more safe, such as those that use automatic sensors or foot pedals. With each bin, consider also putting up posters outlining the proper removal of PPE. Gloves and a mask should be worn when removing the bag from the bin, and the bin should be treated with a registered and graded disinfectant before a new bag is placed.  

Waste Disposal Services Tailored To Your Environment

Many waste disposal companies are now offering solutions for workplace PPE disposal, from simple pickup to legitimate medical waste disposal solutions. As more and more employees return to work, these services will likely expand.  

These services include features like pickup frequency tailored to your needs and both regular and mail-back disposal. Disposal of medical waste by mail was already common when it came to getting rid of sharps, but disposal companies have begun to expand the solution to include PPE. Reach out to your waste disposal vendor and inquire if they have any specialized services to help reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 within your workplace, and if not, what steps they recommend you take.