There are many jobs where it is necessary to wear certain garments or apparatus to protect our person or our clothes from damage. In some circumstances it is actually required by law that you wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles and hard hats.
In most situations, this work wear needs to be tough and durable, so that it provides long lasting protection against damage and injury. However, there are other circumstances when the work wear doesn’t need to last for long periods or will get so dirty or damaged during the course of the work that it will be useless. There are other jobs that require clean and fresh PPE equipment each time work is carried out. Which is wear disposable work wear comes in.
Gloves, coveralls, facemasks, hair coverings and plenty more all come in disposable varieties. While there are some obvious benefits to this, it does come with some drawbacks too.
Let’s have a closer look at both.
For jobs like painting, working with grease or other oil-based products, and hygienically sensitive work, some garments are useless or too dirty once they have been used. Plastic gloves and paper overalls can be used in these circumstances and then simply discarded. This saves time cleaning and protects against contamination.
Disposable PPE is also very convenient and very suited to occasional use, and you don’t have to worry about damaging or dirtying workwear during use.
The main benefits of disposable PPE include:
No danger of contamination spreading after working in hazardous environments
Generally cheaper than sturdier and more long-lasting PPE in the short term
No need to clean disposable PPE after use
Easy to keep a large stock of disposable PPE to provide to guests and site visitors
In these days of increasing concern about the environment and our throwaway culture, the idea that we can use something once and then dispose of it goes against the grain. However, by using materials that can be recycled this needn’t be too much of an issue.
In the short term, using disposable items will be cheaper than purchasing heavy-duty permanent workwear. However, in the longer-term, disposable workwear is not a great solution. Reusing and maintaining higher quality products is more cost-effective in the long run.
To summarise, the main downsides to disposable workwear are:
Non-recyclable clothing causes environmental concerns
Can end up being more expensive than non-disposable items in the long term
Should you choose disposable PPE?
What is always required before choosing any workwear is a thorough assessment of the risks and necessary safety procedures to ensure everyone is safe at work at all times. It’s only by carrying out these enquiries that you can be sure if disposable workwear is suitable for the needs of your business.
In some cases, disposable PPE makes perfect sense. If you’re stockpiling coveralls or respirators to provide to guests and site visitors, for example, disposable items are a better choice than expensive long-lasting ones. Disposable PPE is also great for workplaces where clothing gets dirty quickly, such as garages and workshops, avoiding the need to constantly clean stubborn stains off more expensive workwear.
If you are interested in providing disposable workwear for your employees, take a look at Protec Direct’s extensive collection of disposable PPE.