3 Common Mistakes with PPE

PPE, or personal protective equipment, is used to protect you from exposure to harmful bacteria and viruses that could make you ill. Personal protective equipment, or PPE, provides a protective barrier between you and potentially harmful matter that can help keep you and loved ones safe. Personal protective equipment is most effective when used properly and for the right function. Comprehensive first aid certificate programs go over PPE and ways to use them for protection. Stay safe by not making any of these common mistakes when using personal protective equipment:

  1. Not using the correct PPE.  Not all personal protective equipment is equal. For example if you are wanting to wear disposable latex gloves to protect your hands from touching harmful or toxic materials, wearing regular winter gloves is not the same thing. Regular gloves are made of material, not latex, and the material will absorb the harmful bacteria and viruses you are trying to protect yourself from. So many individuals make this common mistake, thinking they are making a good choice because they are preventing their skin from touching dangerous surfaces by wearing a protective barrier. You have to have the right personal protective equipment item to perform the right function. First aid classes can help you learn about which PPE is best to wear in specific situations where personal protective equipment may be needed.
  2. Not disposing PPE correctly. Using personal protective equipment to protect you from harmful bacteria is a smart choice. Your PPE can become a hazardous item to your health if it is not disposed of properly. Going back to the disposable latex gloves, if you don’t take them off the right way, you end up getting all the bacteria on your hands during the process of removal and then expose others to danger by placing it in open trashcan where children and pets may come into contact with it. Gloves should be peeled back from the wrist so that they become inside-out, trapping the dangerous materials on the inside and away from children and pets. Placing them into a sealed wastebasket or bag within a wastebasket helps prevent further contamination from discarded PPE. A basic first aid class  will go over the importance of disposing PPE correctly and safely.
  3. Reusing PPE items that aren’t meant to be reused. Disposable paper surgical masks are disposable for a reason. The same mask is not meant to be reused over and over again.  When you breathe inside a paper disposable surgical mask, you create moisture inside the mask that can attract harmful airborne bacteria and harvest bacteria growth. Using the same mask over and over again exposes you to bacteria that can make you sick. If you plan to reuse your PPE gear, you need to make sure you are using reusable PPE items. First aid certification and first aid recertification courses are great resources for learning lifesaving skills and information about using personal protective equipment to help you stay safe.
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