The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted practically every aspect of life the world over. Regardless of industry or occupation, we are all working to provide safe and healthy environments for ourselves and our colleagues. The cryogenic personal protective equipment (PPE) field is no exception. As institutions and businesses find new ways to operate, the use and purchasing of cryo PPE will also require new considerations. To assist in navigating these new considerations, we’ve created a list of best practices.
PPE Best Practices
Be Aware, Don’t Share
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among coworkers, it’s vital that cryogenic PPE never be shared. In fact, the UK and some European countries have issued or are in the process of issuing mandates specifically intended to prevent workers from sharing any protective product that comes in direct contact with your skin. While these regulations are not yet in place in the US, it is a wise practice for US-based facilities to proactively adopt “no sharing” policies of their own.
You may have heard of workarounds intended to facilitate sharing of cryogenic gloves, such as wearing latex gloves underneath. While this may or may not prove an effective means to prevent the spread of COVID-19, this is not ideal since it can inhibit rapid removal in an emergency, negatively impact dexterity, and increase the risk of accidents through mishandling. The best practice is to avoid sharing and to supply each user with their own PPE.
Plan for Potential Shortages
Industry analysts - such as those noted in this article published by marketandresearch.biz) - have predicted significant increases in demand of cryogenic PPE through 2025. This, combined with volatility in supply chains, materials availability, and other related variables, may make it difficult for distributors to keep up with demand. Therefore, we recommend maintaining additional stock.
Plan Purchasing Properly
When you combine the probability of shortages with the need to equip every worker in a facility with his or her own equipment, it’s crucial to make certain an adequate stockpile of PPE is on hand. When figuring out what “adequate” means for your organization, factor in wear and tear, loss, accidental cross-contamination, as well as employee turnover. It’s best practice to increase the estimated need by 10%-25% to accommodate any unforeseen changes.
Recommend that Workers to Write Names on Their Equipment
It may seem silly for educated professionals to adopt the practice of writing their names on their possessions in marker. However, in the age of COVID-19, this practice has proven effective in preventing the accidental sharing of gloves. Most Tempshield products feature a lighter color which contrasts well with a black permanent marker, and a labeling feature is now being added to each PPE unit.
Protect Your Investment
In this article, How to Wash and Disinfect Cryogenic PPE, we outlined steps you can take to safely care for cryogenic PPE, including gloves, aprons, and face shields.
For many garments, regular laundering can be an effective means to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. For extra assurance, isolate the garments between 24 and 72 hours before laundering. Always bear in mind, however, cryogenic PPE utilizes multiple layers and materials to provide protection. Care must be taken when cleaning these garments as detergents, heat, and more can impact their protection properties. The best practice remains to avoid sharing this equipment, and ensure that each worker has their own set.
To learn more about the care of cryogenic PPE, read our article, How to Wash and Disinfect Cryogenic PPE.