Is PPE Really a Cost of Doing Business?
“We’re not going to pay you for PPE because that’s the cost of doing business?”
Has anyone ever said that to you?
Is that really true?
What does “the cost of doing business” really mean?
PPE Is Job Specific
Let’s dive in! To start off on the right foot, let’s be clear. PPE is NOT a cost of doing business! And here’s why:
It is understood that before you can even determine the PPE necessary on a job, you have to first assess your workplace to determine the level of PPE. Thus, the proper PPE is for each individual job, making it job specific, NOT a cost of doing business.
Suits, Respirators, Gloves, Oh My!
When you think of personal protective equipment, does your mind start spinning? How much personal protective equipment is actually out there?
Let’s think about suits alone. You have Lakeland, Tyvek, Kimberly-Clark… PLUS, with all of those manufacturers, each one of those has specific ratings for the protection level such as particulate, chemical, protection… Then you have medium, large, extra large, 2X, 3X, which all cost different amounts.
What about full face respirators? How many manufacturers of those are out there? Then, you have the cartridges:
P100s, organic vapor, organic vapor acid gas, formaldehyde, all different color codes… The list goes on and on.
What about nitrile gloves? You have specific gloves for doing demolition, chemical protection, proper footwear.
What about your glasses your safety glasses? Your safety goggles?
There is a massive amount of personal protective equipment out there that you can’t determine the level you need until you assess your job site.
Personal protective equipment is job specific not a cost of doing business.
Therefore, you cannot even determine what you need until you first find out what hazards are either present or likely to be present according OSHA’s regulations. And at that point, then you can determine the proper level on that job.
More Than One Level of Hazards
Here’s where the other lot of problems lie. Are you just going to face one specific hazard on each job? What if you face three different types? Maybe you’re working on a fire damage project or somebody very likely could have been on drugs, held there family hostage, let their family go, then committed suicide right after they set the house on fire.
Now you’ve got smoke damage, potential blood-borne pathogen remediation, and possible tear gas. This type of job presents you with several different levels of hazards in that job site.
What PPE is required for all of that? It’s not just one thing.
You’ve got to remember, these jobs come with inherent hazards.
In order protect yourself, you have to know what you’re working with and what the proper PPE is for each individual job and THAT makes it job specific, NOT a cost of doing business.
Written By: David Hodge
David is a Triple Master with the IICRC and has a background in full service cleaning and restoration, estimating, operations, and reconstruction. David serves as Chair of the Exams and Education Committee for the IICRC and is currently serving on the Board of Directors as 1st VP for the IICRC. Not only that, his background as a firefighter, EMT, and HazMat tech makes him an excellent candidate to discuss fire loss and cleaning. He is a knowledgeable and hilarious instructor considered to be one of the best instructors in the industry!
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