PPE Purchasing Guide

September 14, 2020

You're well aware of how important it is to stay stocked up on personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitizers, especially during the pandemic. The question is, how much should you purchase? 

A good PPE program takes several factors into account, including an overall risk assessment, selection of appropriate PPE, fitting, education and training, maintenance and storage, and continual evaluation. The following tips will help guide your decision on purchasing various products that help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Hand Sanitizer
The CDC recommends using hand sanitizer with 60-90% alcohol. Each application should use about 3mL, or a half teaspoon. To ensure you have enough sanitizer for any given length of time, this calculator will help guide your purchase.

Cleaners with Bleach
This may be surprising, but there is a relatively short shelf life for products with bleach. After one year, the effectiveness of the bleach is drastically reduced, and the product should be safely disposed of and repurchased. For now, just purchase as much as you need, with the understanding that overbuying could lead to waste in a year.

Disposable Face Masks
If you choose a disposable surgical mask over a cloth mask or N95 respirator, it can be worn for up to three days if the user doesn’t come into contact with an infected person. The simple equation for how many face masks to purchase is to determine how many weeks or months of stock you want to keep on hand, then divide that number of days by three and multiply by the number of employees you have.

Disposable Gloves, Gowns and Face Shields
Disposable gloves typically have a shelf life of at least three years, and during a pandemic like COVID-19, these products most likely will not reach their expiration date. To make sure you have enough PPE on hand to protect your entire staff, the CDC has created a free Burn Rate app that takes into account all your main factors and recommends the appropriate quantity. 

Floor Signage
Although most floor signage denoting flow of direction or reminding of social distancing are made of durable materials, there is no way to make them indestructible. Consider purchasing at least one backup set of floor signage, especially before the winter months arrive and people begin tracking wet and/or salty boots on the signage. 

For specific guidance or advice on buying PPE or any other COVID-related supplies, please contact FaciliSafety, and we can help you make informed purchasing decisions.

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