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personal protective equipment

Should Personal Protective Equipment Be Reused

Table of content

  • Introduction
  • Purpose of PPE
  • History
  • Types of PPE
  1.  Respirators
  2.  Skin protection
  3.  Eye protection
  4. Hearing protection 
  5. Hand protection
  • Should you reuse PPE?
  • How to reuse PPE?
  • Advantages of reusable PPE
  • When is it unacceptable to reuse PPE?
  • Conclusion


Safety is an essential part of our lives and we need to safeguard ourselves in every path of life. For certain situations and work spaces, PPE kits are mandatory. But what is PPE?

The protective equipment protects the wearer from physical, electrical, heat, chemicals, biohazards, and airborne particulate matter. Personal protective equipment is worn for sports and other recreational activities. PPE suits look similar to cleanroom suits. 

Purpose of PPE

The employee should use PPE kits to reduce employee exposure to hazards when engineering controls or administrative controls are not practical or effective to reduce the risks to acceptable levels. If there is a presence of a hazard, there should be a presence of PPE. 

The injuries that can happen in the workplace may affect several parts of the body that includes- 

  • Lungs- from breathing contaminated air 
  • Head and feet- from falling materials 
  • Eyes- from flying particles or splash of corrosive chemicals
  • Skin- from contact with corrosive materials
  • Body- from extremes of heat or cold 

The personal protective equipment includes safety products and safety jackets. Gloves, masks, gowns, aprons, etc are some types of personal protective equipment. PPE is the short form for personal protective equipment.

With personal protective equipment, you can completely trust RP Comtrade. They make sure that the products manufactured are of high quality.


First used in World War I, PPE came in the form of respirators. They allowed the troops to escape the effects of harmful toxins and gas. PPE also dates back to the middle ages when blacksmiths would wear protective aprons and hand gear. In order to prevent burns or equipment falling on them.

Historically, soldiers, workers, and miners wore headgear and hard hats, which are still in use today. Welders and construction workers first used eye protectors. The origin of gloves dates back to the eighth century BC, when Homer’s Odyssey, a well-known poet, describes Laertes using gloves to protect his hands from thorns while working in the garden. 

Currently, protective wear includes clothing, footwear, goggles, and other garments designed to protect an individual from an injury that may occur in an industry.

Types of PPE


Respirators help users to protect themselves from breathing contaminants present in the air. One type of respirator filters out chemicals and gasses, or airborne particles, from the air, breathed by the user. Gas masks and particulate respirators like N95 masks are examples of these respirators. The second kind of respirator protects users by providing clean and respirable air from another source. During the covid situation, masks have been a must. Hence, certain types of respirators are very much in demand now. 

Skin protection 

Our skin needs utmost care because it is very sensitive. Hence, we need to protect our skin from occupational skin diseases such as allergies, dermatitis, skin cancers, etc. There are four types of skin hazards: chemical agents, physical agents, mechanical trauma, and biological agents. The term “skin protection” refers to all PPE that prevents the skin from coming into contact with any of these agents of exposure. Hands are the most important part of our work, so we should protect them with gloves. To protect ourselves from future injuries or accidents, we should also wear jackets, boots, coats, and other clothing or equipment that protects the skin. Depending on the application, gloves might consist of rubber gloves, cut-resistant gloves, or chainsaw gloves.

Eye protection 

Every day people are at risk of injuring their eyes due to some chemical or harmful radiation or excessive heat. These injuries stay with the individual lifelong and prove to be harmful. Most eye injuries occur when solid particles like silver particles, metal chips, wood chips, or cement chips get into the eye. These tiny particles look tiny but may harm the eyes by giving major injuries. Apart from that, chemical burns, biological agents, and thermal agents from sources such as welding torches and UV lights can also contribute to eye accidents.

Hearing protection

The people who work in an environment with high noise levels. Here, it is necessary to consider hearing protection. A comfortable earphone is easier to wear than an earmuff. Earplugs are also more secure and are easy to remove than earmuffs. The high noise environment could damage the hearing ability of the workers. In adverse conditions, there can be hearing loss.

Hand protection

Hands are the body that is most vulnerable to injury and can spread infection. The worker should select hand protection according to their needs and according to the industry they work in. Different applications of the hand protection equipment are as follows:

  • Protection against cuts from sharp objects.
  • Protects from cold and heat.
  • Protection from bacteriological risks.
  • Protects from splashes of diluted chemicals.
  • Protection against vibrations.

Whatever the type of PPE used it won’t ensure complete protection unless it perfectly fits the worker. RP Comtrade is a company that provides a wide range of PPE. The company manufactures gowns, aprons, gloves, safety jackets, and many more personal protective equipment. Moreover, the company provides all these PPE in different sizes.

Should you reuse PPE?

The question of whether a PPE kit can be reused varies for different situations. There are certain places where reusing PPE kits can be dangerous, whereas there are places where one can use it as many times as possible. In general, personal protective equipment is designed to be used only once and by a single person. The wearer must dispose of it after single use in a proper manner. However, there are a few exceptions. These exceptional products should be reused by following the guidelines of the manufacturer.  We will be mentioning it in points so that you can understand it easily. 

safety products

Hospitals, laboratories, and other healthcare establishments

The PPE kits used in this section need to be changed almost every day due to the contraction of harmful germs and viruses that may stick to the equipment. Especially during the covid virus situation, doctors and other healthcare workers need to keep this in mind. However, if the proper procedure of decontamination is followed there is some equipment such as goggles that can be reused.

 Just in case, the PPE becomes contaminated by infectious material. The wearer should remove it immediately. Although, PPE is to protect us from various infections improper disposal and removal can be dangerous. 

Chemical industries

Harmful chemicals that may stick on to the gloves need to be changed regularly. Because they may carry harmful radiations that can cause various skin diseases. 

Welding industries

Welders do not have to change their PPE kits as long as they are in good working condition. If there is a single hole or tear, it may harm the body in a greater way. Hence, the welders need to make sure that they wear PPE kits of high quality that are long-lasting and strong. 

Gardening and other minor work

Small works like gardening, plumbing, and electrician work need equipment. But they can be used for as long as the wearer would like to wear them with the only exception that it gets damaged or torn. 

How to reuse PPE?

However, it is not recommended to reuse the PPE but there are some which can be reused if properly decontaminated.

Masks and N95 Respirators

N95 respirators and masks can be reused until it becomes difficult to breathe through them. They can be reused till they are visibly soiled. The wearer should remove and store the masks or the respirators with care. Moreover, the wearer should perform hand hygiene before and after wearing the equipment.


  • The mask may be continuously worn until moist from respirations or visibly soiled.
  • Mask should be folded so that the outer surface is held inward. The mask can be folded and stored in a breathable container or a paper bag.


  • The respirator can be used for up to 8 hrs and be reused as long as you’re able to breathe easily and remain clean on the inside.
  • The wearer should store it in a clean paper bag or a breathable box.

Eye protection

Safety glasses and goggles are the equipment that can be reused.

 Cleaning of eye protection equipment:

  1. The wearer should use a clean cloth and wipe the inside of the face shield or goggles. The person should use a neutral detergent to clean the equipment.
  2. The wearer should wipe the outside of the goggles or the face shield with alcohol or clean water.
  3. The worker should air dry the equipment or use a clean absorbent towel.
  4. After the removal of gloves, perform hand hygiene.


The wearers should reuse plastic and paper gowns until they are not visibly soiled. The other equipment is disposable coveralls, disposable lab coats, and patient gowns. 

Steps to remove a gown for reuse

  • Wear clean gloves for the removal of the gown. Untie the gown and remove it by pulling forward. The wearer should hang the gown in an open area. Furthermore, The wearer should avoid any contact of the gown with the other garments.

Along with following all the decontamination procedures, one should remember that the equipment can only be reused according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Advantages of reusable PPE

During the coronavirus pandemic, there was so much shortage of personal protective equipment. The use of reusable PPE overcomes the shortage of PPE. The health of healthcare professionals is at risk at times when there is a shortage of PPE. The COVID-19 pandemic made us understand our dangerous and unnecessary reliance on disposable PPE. This made us understand the need to focus on reusable options.

Although, reusable PPE would likely cost more than disposable PPE. However, the institution doesn’t have to spend large amounts daily on disposable equipment. Furthermore, reusable PPE reduces solid waste generation, greenhouse gas emissions, as well as natural resource energy consumption. Moreover, the use of reusable PPE is of great advantage to our environment. However, people should properly test and sterilize reusable PPE. The sterilization is not an easy task. We should prioritize the implementation and development of reusable PPE. 

It’s High time the hospitals should take responsibility for the implementation of reusable PPE for the healthcare professionals as well as the patients.

When is it unacceptable to reuse PPE?

We talked about the ways we can reuse personal protective equipment. Furthermore, we read about the advantages of reusable PPE. However, there are some conditions the reusing the equipment should not place, as the reuse may lead to the risk of spreading the infection or disease.

Firstly, the wearer should be aware of whether the equipment is for single use or is reusable. There is a great risk in reusing single-use equipment, which may put the wearer at risk. The reason is that the used PPE has a chance of spreading infections. Some examples of simple use of PPE are :

  1. Disposable respirators
  2. Overshoes
  3. Disposable ear plugs

Washing the disposable will not make it decontaminated. Therefore, it won’t ensure safety for the wearer. The equipment may become ineffective if washed, and the barrier capabilities may change, resulting in a potential safety risk.

You can always rely on RP Comtrade for providing safe and high-quality personal protective equipment. Moreover, the products at RP Comtrade are available at a reasonable price.


When it comes to protective equipment, taking risks by not wearing them would be a careless attitude. Hence, one has to use the equipment effectively and ensure that they are safe not just for themselves but for their entire family. The right place to buy PPE kits is another important factor to consider.

A company that provides the best quality safety products at reasonable prices is RP Comtrade which is working in the industry with many years of experience. Customer satisfaction is the company’s priority with these products. Furthermore, RP Comtrade will provide you with the best quality products that will keep you safe in the toughest and most extreme conditions.