What Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Should You Provide Outdoor Workers?

August 20, 2021

Author: Staples Professional Inc.

 

Working outside can expose your team to extreme temperatures and other challenging conditions. But providing them with the right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can boost workplace safety and productivity.

“Outdoor work has strict requirements for safety and whether it’s high visibility clothing or hard hats or sunscreen lotion, it’s the employer’s responsibility to have PPE available to their employees.” says Chris Gassi, Facilities Solutions Sales Manager at Staples Professional.
Providing employees with the right equipment also keeps them safe. According to Chris Robertson, also a Facilities Solutions Sales Manager at Staples Professional, failure to do so can lead to liability and lost time due to injuries, which in turn can be costly to a company.

If you’re in the market for PPE, here are three categories to prioritize for outdoor work:

COVID-related PPE

PPE requirements are growing, says Gassi. Previously, PPE was associated with items such as high-visibility clothing, hard hats and safety glasses. Now, you’ll find vinyl or nitrile gloves, masks and shields, sanitizers and hand pumice lotions all under the PPE umbrella. “There’s more for the employer to think about to keep their workers safe,” says Gassi.
Health and safety requirements around pandemic PPE aren’t expected to relax anytime soon. For convenience-seeking businesses, municipalities and other midsize-to-large organizations, Staples Professional can make it easier to navigate this new normal. Our facilities specialists can help you determine the best products for your company’s needs.

Protection from sun, heat and other extremes

From summer into fall, protection from sun and heat are top priorities, say Gassi and Robertson. Heat is also a year-round issue in many indoor industrial settings. A well-rounded PPE strategy covers hydration, temperature control and protection. Some essentials include:

• Sunscreen: “Put a dispenser on the wall so people can put it on before going out for the day,” says Gassi.
• Hydration and nutrition products such as water, Gatorade, drink mixes, energy gels and bars.
• First Aid Kits, including bug-bite treatment creams.
• Insect repellent
• Cooling vests, towels and headbands (when damp, these products disperse heat for a cooling sensation).
• Summer uniforms, such as short-sleeve shirts and work shorts.
• Portable fans, which can be useful when air conditioning isn’t an option, such as in vehicles or storage sheds.

For colder weather, businesses will be focused on keeping their employees safe, comfortable and warm with the following items:

• Toques
• Balaclavas and neck warmers
• High-visibility parkas
• Safety boots (suited to a specific work environment)
• Warm but workable gloves
• Area heaters

PRO TIP: Streamline your procurement process. “A lot of companies really want one supplier that they can go to and be able to purchase a ‘kit’ that has all the items remote or outdoor staff need,” says Gassi.

High-visibility and protective gear

Finally, don’t forget the traditional PPE that workers rely on to stay visible and protected on active worksites and outdoor environments:

• Work gloves: Not sure if you have the right glove selection? “Staples Professional does glove audits to ensure your staff are using the right glove for the right task,” says Robertson.
• Work boots and/or foot protection
• Hard hats and other head protection
• Eye protection such as goggles and protective glasses
• High-visibility vests and t-shirts, including custom designs. Staples Professional has produced custom safety vests for companies that include logos on the front or back. Clients can choose from different styles, from lighter materials like mesh to heavier ones like polyester.

Best of all is the convenience: “We can deliver to about 98 per cent of the country within the next business day through Staples’ cross-Canada network of stores, warehouses and shipping services,” explains Gassi.

Want to learn more about equipping your team for any work environment? Learn more about our safety solutions and request a free safety consultation

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