What if My Warehouse Runs Out of PPE?

In the past, PPE was used solely in certain settings, such as health care, construction, and warehouse work. Today, it’s essential for businesses, schools, and organizations of all shapes and sizes to stay open.

As a result, there’s often shortages of certain items, ranging from masks and gloves to gowns and more. If you don’t have an adequate supply, though, it can impact the level of safety inside your facility, putting your employees at risk. What can you do when this happens?

Here are a few tips so you can stay up and running:

Get strict about social distancing policies.

If you don’t have enough masks or other PPE for all your employees, make sure you’re strictly enforcing social distancing guidelines with consequences for not following them. According to guidelines from the CDC, this includes ensuring employees are not within six feet of each other for more than 15 minutes. It also includes closing off any congregate, common areas where employees would typically gather.

Make handwashing and hand hygiene easier.

Now more than ever, it’s critical employees are regularly washing their hands or using hand sanitizer. If there’s a shortage of disposable gloves, this is even more important. You can help make practicing hand hygiene easier by adding hand-washing stations throughout your facility and ensuring employees can access their own supply of hand sanitizer.

Ramp up sanitizing throughout your facility.

In addition to hand washing, instruct employees to wipe down shared work stations and equipment regularly. When they’re doing so, it needs to be with an alcohol-based sanitizing solution to thoroughly clear away bacteria and other germs.

Adopt best practices to sustain supplies and reuse them.

Certain items, which were previously manufactured for single-use, can now be re-used if they’re sanitized. For instance, the CDC has issued new rules, called “Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Facemasks.” These provide contingency strategies in cases when there’s a shortage of N95 masks. It states these masks can be extended beyond the manufacturer’s designated shelf life with proper sanitization. Some methods to sanitize include vaporous hydrogen peroxide, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, and microwave-generated steam.

Ask employees to bring in supplies.

If you’re running low on masks, gloves, sanitizer, cleaning supplies, or other items your employees might have at home, ask them to bring them in. If you have someone on staff, who can sew, for instance, also see if they’d be willing to make masks for the team. While it’s not an ideal situation, it’s better than having no PPE at all if you’ve run out of something.

Adjust staffing levels.

Another option when dealing with a shortage or lack of PPE is to adjust your staffing so you have fewer people on the floor at one time. Again, while not ideal, it will give you peace of mind knowing you’re able to provide all your employees with proper PPE while they’re on the job.

Need more help managing through the staffing challenges of COVID-19?

Turn to Future Force. We’re one of Orlando’s leading temporary hiring agencies and can help you address all your recruiting, hiring, and staffing concerns, so you can continue to manage your way through the year ahead. Contact us today to learn more!


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