10 common PPE storage mistakes to avoid

Simon Beaumont
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You’ve taken the time to purchase the correct PPE to protect your workers, but ensuring its effectiveness doesn’t stop there. Proper storage of PPE is crucial to preserving its integrity and maintaining its lifespan.

Proper storage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) helps prevent it from getting damaged. By ensuring PPE is stored securely, you can maintain its condition and effectiveness, reducing the need for frequent replacements. Correct storage also keeps the equipment away from any potential hazards that could cause damage and compromise its effectiveness. Below are 10 common PPE storage mistakes you can avoid.

10 common PPE storage mistakes to avoid

Mistake 1 - Exposure to direct sunlight

UV rays can degrade materials, reducing their effectiveness and lifespan.

Mistake 2 - High humidity & temperature

Moisture can cause mould growth and material degradation, while high temperatures can warp or weaken materials.

Mistake 3 - Areas with poor ventilation

Lack of airflow can lead to moisture build-up, promoting mould and mildew growth.

Mistake 4 - Improper stacking or compression

This can cause permanent creases, deformation, and damage to the protective properties of the materials.

Mistake 5 - Not cleaning before storage

Residual chemicals, dirt, and contaminants can degrade materials and reduce the effectiveness of the PPE.

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Mistake 6 - Mixing different types of PPE

Cross-contamination and physical damage can occur, especially if sharp or heavy items are stored with more delicate ones.

Mistake 7 - Storing in contaminated areas

Exposure to contaminants can degrade materials and reduce the protective qualities of the PPE.

Mistake 8 - Neglecting regular inspections

Potential damage or degradation may go unnoticed, leading to the use of ineffective PPE.

Mistake 9 - Improper storage containers

Lack of proper storage containers can lead to moisture build-up, contamination, and physical damage.

Mistake 10 - Not checking expiration dates

These dates indicate the maximum lifespan of the equipment under ideal conditions, not necessarily the replacement date.

Who is responsible for correct PPE storage?

In the UK, it is a legal requirement for all employers to provide necessary storage for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). According to the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, employers are responsible for providing appropriate, secure, and adequate facilities for employees to store their PPE. These facilities can range from simple lockers in changing rooms to advanced options like special boxes that protect against dirt, temperature, and moisture.

Employers must also ensure that workers’ personal clothing is kept separate from wet or contaminated work gear and garments. Additionally, the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (PPER 1992) mandates that employers not only provide the required PPE but also maintain and store it properly. This includes keeping PPE clean, dry, and secure, ensuring it is always ready and safe for use.

While employers are responsible for the maintenance, storage, and replacement of any PPE they provide, workers have a duty to use the PPE properly, following the training and instructions given by their employer. This collaborative effort helps ensure a safe and compliant workplace.

Simon Beaumont
Simon Beaumont
Divisional Managing Director - National Accounts

With over 20 years experience driving “best-in-class” operating standards and solutions, Simon works in partnership with customers as a trusted advisor and sustainable expert supplier.

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