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Innovation for PPE Skin Protection: Required in Response to COVID-19

10/02/2020
Innovation for PPE Skin Protection: Required in Response to COVID-19

Facility safety managers already faced a complex and ever-changing landscape of potential emergencies and disasters to prepare for before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Today, managers and professsionals are re-writing the playbook - if there even was a playbook - to protect workers, facitly occupants and even consumers from COVID-19 health risks.

 

The challenges are multi-faceted for manufacturing, healthcare, food processing, government and other facilities that must determine a way to operate safely, and whose frontline workers deliver essential serviecs and good to the public. A key area of focus is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) usage for skin protection, and The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has provided guidance on wearing gloves, eye/face protection and other PPE.

 

With regards to gloves, best pratices are being matched with innovation to create, for example, higher performance single-use, nitrile gloves that protect workers against COVID-19, their coworkers and other skin danagers. For facility safety managers, gaining a better understanding of glove requirements, variations in glove protection and developments in innovation when it comes to the enviromental impact of disposable gloves can enhance worker safety. 

 

In 2016, the International Organization for Standardization revamped its international testing standards for protective gloves against dangerous chemicals and micro-organisms, including viruses, batceria and fungues. The revised testing measures include three main ares glvoe manufacturers must prevent:

 

Penetration: Gloves should be impervious to cracks or imperfections that would allow chemicals and/or mirco-organisms to force their way through and infect a user's skin.

 

Permeation: The measurement of breakthrough times, or how long it takes for the hazardous material to come in contact with the skin after piercing the glove's surface.

 

Degradation: The change in physical makeup of the glove caused by contact from a certain material. Degradation can be recongnized by a change in the glove's color, appearance or texture.

 

Not all gloves are equally equipped to protect against unseen pathogens. Rigorous testing by glove manufacturers and distributors is required to ensure their products are up to the latest industry standards. A glove that meets the above criteria is the baseline for protetin industry workers, but there is still more that business can do. 

 

Written By: Brian Mosely - R&D/Technical Manager: Showa Group

See this article on Facility Safety Management

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