Pandemic Protocol: Face Covering Policies and Guidelines for Disposal

Pandemic Protocol: Face Covering Policies and Guidelines for Disposal

Pandemic Protocol

Face masks have been the topic of many industry and organizational conversations recently. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, society has taken up rigorous hygiene regimens in order to prevent the spread. Most face masks are disposable and designed for onetime usePersonal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, quickly become contaminated during use and should be disposed of with care. Unfortunately, the significant uptick in personal and business use has causea significant increase in improper disposal of used PPE. 

Waste management in many areas has become a priority in order to keep both our economy and environment safe. So, the big question is – what the proper way is to dispose of a face mask when usein environments where medical waste containers are not available?  

Environmentally Friendly Pandemic Protocol: COVID-19 Contraction on Cloth vs. Disposable Masks  

Masks are now a part of our reality. Pandemic protocol includes a variety of protection, but masks are both convenient and necessary for everyone. When it comes to masks, there are numerous options available for individuals to choose new styles, materials, and creations being utilized as time goes on. A popular mask selection has been N95 and procedural masksHowever, these masks are for one time use and can lead to further issues such as spreading of the disease and non-eco-friendly disposal. A more environmentally desirable solution is the use of a cloth mask. 

Cloth Masks:

Many individuals have invested in cloth masks which make for a more environmentally friendly alternative.  

  • Pros: This mask is washable, reusable, and considered to be the best in public settings. This option also allows for a lot of creativity for individuals to create their own in a variety of styles and patterns. These masks are affordablereusable, and comfortable! 
  • Cons: Unfortunately, not everything is grade A about these masks. With cloth masks, there is less filtration and more exposure to airborne particles.  

Procedural Masks:

Procedural masks provide complete protection while remaining light and comfortable. 

  • Pros: These medically certified masks are both affordable and disposable. While these lightweight masks are disposable after one use, they are very affordable, so they won’t make a dent in your bank account!  
  • Cons: However, these masks also can lead to larger issues due to their one time use design and the fact they are not made to filter airborne particles. Lastly, health care providers need these masks specifically for their jobs, so it is suggested to use another form of masks. 

N95 Masks:

These masks offer mass protection and have been a part of the pandemic protocol from the beginning. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend the general public wear N95 respirators. These masks have been deemed critical supplies that must be saved and readily available for health care workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance. 

  • Pros: These medically certified masks are made with a dense filter which results in much more protection from airborne particles and droplets. 
  • Cons: Users have reported these masks to make it harder to breathe and required training is necessary. In addition, health care workers need these masks so they and can be short on supply. 

 

Pandemic Protocol for Personal Mask Disposal 

With the continued spread of Covid-19, health professionals have suggested treating masks as other PPE equipment and taking precautionary pandemic protocol measures, in order to ensure the lowest possible transmission rates. 

Cloth Masks: 

Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops 

  • Handle only by the ear loops or ties 
  • Fold outside corners together 
  • Place mask in the washing machine  
  • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing  
  • Wash hands immediately after removing. 

Procedural Masks: 

  • Remove mask from face 
  • Place mask in a plastic bag  
  • Secure bag tightly 
  • Place plastic bag into the garbage can or waste disposal unit 
  • Wash hands immediately after disposing of your mask 
  • Never put on a new face mask until you have properly washed your hands 

N95 Masks: 

  • Remove mask from face, be careful to not disturb liquid and solid contaminants on the mask 
  • Place mask in a plastic bag  
  • Secure bag tightly 
  • Place the plastic bag into the garbage can or waste disposal unit 
  • Wash hands immediately after disposing of your mask 

For more information, the World Health Organization (WHO) has provided disposal directions for all mask types. As we navigate a changing regulatory world in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it is essential to stand by each other’s sides in our efforts to keep all employees safe during essential business operations. Join us in doing your part and take your next step towards more stringent occupational health and safety measures today! 

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