When it comes to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Cleaning chemicals, correct and safe storage of items is imperative. This is not only important for safety but also for the efficacy of the PPE and cleaning chemicals.
When it comes to cleaning chemicals and PPE it is important to realise that there are regulations in place for the protection of those using it and those disposing of it.
Storage of PPE
It is important to ensure that PPE is stored correctly to ensure that the PPE maintains its ability to protect the user. This means that it is vital that the storage instructions from the manufacturer of the PPE are followed properly. Generally speaking, it is important to store PPE away from sunlight, moisture and high temperatures. Additionally, it is vital that PPE is stored in its sealed package until it is used.
In terms of reusable PPE such as helmets, certain gloves, boots etc, it is vital that these items are cleaned and maintained appropriately. They should be replaced when they have worn out as they are no longer as effective.
It is also important that PPE is not stored near chemicals. This can inhibit the ability of the PPE to work appropriately.
Storage of Cleaning Chemicals
Cleaning chemicals are required by most homes and businesses to ensure that the environment is kept clean and hygienic. It is important that chemicals are stored correctly to ensure they remain effective. Correct storage of cleaning chemicals is vital for the protection of the person responsible for using them.
Cleaning chemicals should be stored in clearly labelled, sealed containers, out of direct sunlight. They should be kept in a dry, well-ventilated area away from exposure to the elements. Additionally, cleaning chemicals should be stored in a secure location for use by the professionals trained to use them.
It is also important to note that cleaning chemicals should never be stored on the top shelf of the storage area or on the floor. This is to prevent breakage and subsequent spills that could be harmful to the user.
Disposal of PPE
With the rise of Covid 19, and the huge increase in demand for disposable PPE, there has been a rise in the need for education on the proper disposal of PPE.
Single-use medical-type PPE such as face masks and latex gloves (as used during the Covid 19 Pandemic) should never be used more than once. These should be disposed of in general waste provided the user has not been exposed to any infectious diseases. The guideline is to dispose of this type of PPE in a closed bin that is out of the reach of children.
For standard PPE the item should be dismantled where necessary and thrown away in general waste. It is vital however that the PPE is properly dismantled or destroyed so that another person cannot mistakenly try to use it.
When PPE has been exposed to harmful substances such as acids, lead, disease or gases, it is important that it is disposed of correctly. Each situation and scenario in which the PPE is used will be different, so the protocol will be too. For standard contaminants such as lead the protocol for disposal will be very different to that of more dangerous substances.
Ultimately the PPE should be removed in such a way that the harmful substances are kept away from the user’s nose, mouth, skin and eyes. It is also important that the PPE is removed in an environmentally secure area where the contaminants are not going to cause environmental damage.
Disposal of Cleaning Chemicals
While it is not often the case that people are going to dispose of cleaning chemicals, occasionally unused chemicals have expired or are no longer needed. In these cases, the chemicals need to be disposed of in an appropriate manner to ensure that they will not cause any damage to the environment or individuals disposing of them.
It is important to note that unwanted cleaning chemicals should never be poured down the drain or toilet because in large amounts they can contaminate the water. Additionally, you shouldn’t simply throw these chemicals in the bin either.
Businesses should engage with chemical waste management companies to ensure that cleaning chemicals are appropriately disposed of.