Why the correct PPE is important in the catering industry

Employers in the catering industry are legally required to ensure their staff are wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.

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According to The Caterer, there is a degree of overlap between the need for PPE to satisfy health and safety requirements and the need to satisfy food hygiene requirements.

Safety concerns

There are many dangers lurking in a commercial kitchen, including hot stoves, sharp knives and potentially slippery floor surfaces. Wearing the correct PPE is essential to ensure staff are protected and to reduce their risk of injury.

Protective gloves can prevent fingers getting cut, for example, whilst long-sleeve whites or all-in-one coveralls can prevent skin coming into contact with hot substances that may cause burns.

Steamy or wet conditions in a kitchen can result in slippery flooring, so wearing non-slip footwear is also essential in the catering industry. There are various types of safety footwear to choose from, so look for those that meet your requirements and are sourced from a reputable supplier such as https://www.247cateringsupplies.co.uk/.

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Hygiene concerns

Wearing the correct PPE is also important from a food hygiene perspective. Protective clothing, such as hairnets and gloves, reduces the risk of contamination. A catering firm’s reputation could be at stake if food hygiene standards are not adhered to, with wearing the right PPE part of ensuring these stringent standards are met.

Keeping a catering environment clean is also essential for maintaining hygienic standards, including cleaning everything from commercial catering equipment to work surfaces, floors and uniforms. Since some cleaning products can contain chemicals that may by harmful to the skin, it is also important that PPE is worn during cleaning duties.

When choosing PPE for the catering industry, it is imperative that staff know how to wear it correctly and that the items are of a good fit and comfortable. Items must offer workers suitable levels of protection; for example, if clothing or footwear is too big or too small, it may not offer the person the protective levels they demand. Equally, employers must recognise when PPE has become worn and needs replacing, as old or damaged items may have lost their protective qualities. Although PPE should help to protect staff, it is vital that it should not interfere with the task the person is performing, as this may present additional risks.

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