Proper Cleaning Technique Extends to Fall Protection PPE

PPE in LJB University's Competent Person Fall Protection Training ClassWith all the focus on hand-washing, we must remember that our safety equipment also has the potential for contamination and continued spread of the coronavirus and other infectious agents. Just like our hands, equipment should generally be cleaned with soap and water. It doesn’t take special cleansers or sanitizers. In fact, these could actually damage equipment and materials. Unless the manufacturer specifically recommends it in the equipment user’s manual, don’t use cleansers, sanitizers or disinfectants.*

Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be just that: personal. If you have community equipment, making sure that equipment is cleaned on a routine basis is even more important. And for now, we recommend cleaning it more frequently than usual. Employers should consider assigning community PPE to specific individuals for the duration of this situation to reduce any potential spread.

If you cannot have individual PPE and must institute increased washing measures, it is imperative to allow appropriate drying time. Along with being uncomfortable, wet equipment, such as the webbing on a fall protection harness, may not fit the same as it does when dry. You would need to adjust it to fit properly each time you wear it.

Clean and air dry thoroughly as frequently as work allows. Do not use additional heat sources to dry, such as a clothes dryer or a hair dryer. This adds too much heat and could damage materials.  Although harnesses are not tested under wet conditions, lanyards and self-retracting devices (SRDs) are to ensure operation without failure or deviation from design standards.

Take time now to review and update your organization’s PPE program for use and cleaning procedures to be sure you’re complying with today’s increased need to sanitize.

*Refer to the manufacturer’s user’s manual for recommended washing and drying procedures.

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