BE A PPE PRO: AN EXPERT GUIDE TO PPE OPTIONS AND USE
As venues adapt and look to reopen, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be top of the priority list. From selecting the right equipment to implementing it effectively in your venue, Ed Poland shares helpful expert guidance.
CENTRAL TO YOUR REOPENING STRATEGY
Investing in the right PPE is an incredibly important part of ensuring that both your employees and your customers are safe. But it’s also about giving people that all-important confidence that they can attend your venue and have a good time without having to worry about transmission. Co-founder of Hirespace, an event booking platform and supplier of the Safer Events Accreditation advises on a few areas in relation to PPE and health & safety in your venue, including:
Every country has its own policies that you’ll have to bear in mind when you’re implementing the use of PPE. In the UK, for example, venues are encouraged to adhere to two-meter (approx. 6 feet) physical distancing where possible, but one-meter (approx. 3 feet) distancing is acceptable if additional measures – like PPE – are in place.
HYGIENE AND SAFETY
The real idea behind PPE is to keep people safe and minimize the risk of infection, but remember that, by itself, PPE cannot take away the risk completely.
BUILDING GUEST CONFIDENCE
For your guests, PPE is a visible sign that your establishment is doing everything it can to keep them and their loved ones safe. From hand sanitizer stations placed at the door to employees in face masks, your guests are going to expect a certain level of precaution. Not only that, but we’re likely to start seeing consumers favoring those bars that are able to offer them that all-important peace of mind.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PPE
When you’re deciding what kind of PPE you need, it’s important to put together a detailed risk assessment that takes into account the risks associated with reopening a bar during a pandemic (for example, the dangers of frequently-touched surfaces and areas). Then, identify the equipment that will help you to lower these risks.
Here are some things you’ll need to consider:
Cost: PPE is an investment. If you’re looking to keep costs down, consider buying in bulk. Some companies will also offer a discount for your first order so do keep an eye out for offers like this that can help you save.
Supply: It’s crucial that you purchase your PPE from a reputable source. We recommend that PPE you purchase has the European CE Mark of approval or your country’s equivalent.
Sizes: Much PPE is one-size-fits-all, but when it comes to those size-specific items such as gloves, make sure that you purchase a range of sizes so that they can be used by all your employees.
Your brand values: Try to purchase PPE that fits with your brand values. For example, you could look for sustainable options instead of using single-use plastics, or you could promote inclusivity by buying transparent face masks that allow people to lip read. Equally, don’t be afraid to get creative – you could consider opting for branded face masks or even integrating sneeze guards into your venue’s decor.
PPE TYPES AND CORRECT USAGE
There’s a huge amount of choice out there when it comes to PPE. We’ve listed some of the most popular here, with pointers on how we train our candidates to use them.
Just remember – there is no point in buying PPE if it’s not being used correctly. Always train your staff on how to use the PPE you purchase effectively and make sure that you increase hand washing and cleaning alongside it for greater protection.
FACE MASKS AND VISORS
For most uses, we recommend a standard surgical mask made from polypropylene with a cotton lining and nose wire. Alternatively, for staff who are at greater risk of spreading infection, such as those preparing food, you could consider purchasing KN95, N95 or FFP3 Respirators.
Make sure that masks fit snugly to the face, under the chin and over the bridge of your nose. If your employees wear glasses, consider purchasing them a face covering with a tie so that it can be made tighter to avoid glasses from steaming up. It’s also worth creating signage to remind staff to wash their hands before putting their masks on and to avoid touching their faces once they’re in place.
Providing gloves for your staff will demonstrate to customers that you’re taking all measures possible to help ensure their safety (as well as reassuring your staff). We recommend standard latex-free, single-use, vinyl gloves which can be bought in bulk. Keep plenty of spare stock behind the bar so that there are always gloves available and your staff don’t have to reuse them.
Place hand sanitizing stations at the entrance of your venue and throughout the space, using signage to encourage guests to make use of it. We recommend using contactless stations to limit contact as much as possible and selecting hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% ethanol.
SANITIZING WIPES AND WANDS
Wipes and wands are a great way to keep frequently touched surfaces clean. Keep disinfectant wipes near surfaces like bar tops and door handles so that staff can quickly and frequently wipe them down.
If you want to go a step further, you can even purchase UV-C sanitizing wands that can be used to sterilize frequently touched equipment such as beer tap handles. UV-C light has been proven to kill up to 99.9% of germs and is used in hospitals worldwide.
Sneeze guards are transparent, perspex screens that are designed to prevent transmission between households, particularly when it comes to coughs and sneezes. We’d recommend placing them at serving points, between tables of guests and anywhere else where guests or staff might be in close proximity for prolonged periods.
FLOOR MARKINGS AND SIGNAGE
Signage is vital for communicating to customers exactly what’s expected of them. Floor markings are particularly useful for directing people through your venue – whether it’s encouraging the use of a one-way system or demonstrating exactly where people should stand in a queue. We recommend vinyl social distancing floor stickers that are both waterproof and durable underfoot.
- It’s essential that you are fully aware of and adhere to the local PPE policies that apply to each of your venues.
- Carry out a risk assessment to identify equipment needed to lower risks.
- Source all PPE from a reputable distributor and look for a quality seal of approval.
- UV-C sanitizing wands can be used to sterilize frequently touched equipment.
- Train staff on how to use PPE effectively and promote good hygiene practices for best protection.
*Please consult WHO, as well as country specific legislation and guidelines when considering next steps for your bar.