How to Safely Wear and Clean your PPE Face Visor

Correctly applying and cleaning face protection can help elongate the life span of reusable items, saving money and helping reduce the impact these items can have on the environment. Here we look at best practices for safely wearing and cleaning your face visors and other face protection.

In the past 12 months, hygiene processes across the world have been reviewed and amended to help combat COVID-19 and install infection prevention and control procedures. These can address simple day-to-day activities such as general hand hygiene of regular washing with soap and water as well as correct application, removal and cleaning or disposal of PPE items such as face masks and face shields.

Face visor, face shields and other face protective items of PPE have become commonplace in healthcare, offices and workplaces in the UK. Statistic from Government websites of EnglandWalesScotland and Northern Ireland show that over 151 million units of face visor or eye protection have been distributed to the health and social care services in these regions since March 2020. These numbers, not accounting for the many millions of items sold commercially in the UK, indicate how the market for these items has grown astronomically since the COVID-19 pandemic broke. 

Firstly, it is important to know what a face visor is and what protection it can provide and whether they are suitable for use in the environment you are planning to operate. Face visors or face shields give a protective barrier against respiratory droplets and minimise the transfer of infectious agents by large-particle droplets between the wearer and any persons near each other. Face visors offer advantages over face masks, including protection of the eyes and reducing the propensity to touch the users face.

Before you start using PPE

Before you start handling or putting on personal protective equipment it is advised that basic hand hygiene procedures are followed. Use alcohol-based hand rub or gel or antibacterial soap and water. Advice on the correct procedure for washing hands can be found on the NHS website.

Assembly of face visors

If your face visors require assembly before use, make sure all parts have not been damaged during transport or in the unpackaging process. Always assemble PPE following the manufacturer’s instructions and re-inspect the finished item once assembly is complete for any fault or potential flaws.

The right fit for face coverings

NHS England gives guidance on the types of face coverings and how they should be worn. Visors and face shields need to fit correctly and worn as per the manufacturer’s guidance. Face visors should cover your forehead, extend below your chin, and wrap around the sides of your face.

Removal of face protection

Similar to putting on face visors, correct procedures should be followed when removing PPE items. It is even more important to follow procedures for removing PPE as the external face of the item could have become contaminated during use. Be careful not to touch the front area of the visor and only handle the straps or arms when removing a face covering. Guidance on the Healthwatch Richmond Upon Thames Website sets out a detailed procedure for the safe removal of face coverings.

Cleaning face visors

The safe repurposing of PPE requires cleaning to be undertaken after every use. Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, specific guidance has been issued from the NHS, care areas and manufacturers on the correct process for cleaning. The NHS foundation trust has given this guide on cleaning reusable visors and goggles and is available from the resources area of the Guys and Thomas’ resources area of their website. Their 6-step guide offers sound advice and guidance on the full cleaning process, including the removal of visible contamination with soap and water and wiping all surfaces of the face visor with a disinfectant wipe.

Users should follow the manufacturers’ guidelines on cleaning, but generally, avoid using household cleaners that contain ammonia or products formulated to clean glass surfaces, as these can degrade the plastics used to produce face visors or goggles. The same applies when using wipes or cloths, avoid abrasive material that can potentially scratch or mark the plastic causing visual impairment or cloudiness.

After safely removing face visors 

Once your face shield or eye protection is safely removed and cleaned, you should immediately wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner to reduce your exposure to any potential contamination.

Replacing PPE

Reusable personal protective equipment that becomes damaged, cloudy, or is no longer fit for purpose, should be replaced. Regular checking of equipment should be undertaken and staff should have clear direction on how to report faulty equipment, you can read how often you should check or change your PPE in a recent blog we posted. It is crucial to keep replacement PPE on hand should unexpected failure occur to ensure any task requiring protective equipment can be finished.

Anti-Fogging of face visors

Some of the most recent face visor designs, such as this product manufactured by Zouch Converters, have been engineered to reduce fogging or misting using adapted ergonomic designs, specialist films or coating. You can also use specialist cleaning products that offer the same protection as other soap or antibacterial products, whilst minimising the build-up of moisture on the visor that causes the fogging.  

Single-use vs re-usable face visors

When purchasing your face shield, be sure to understand if you are buying single-use, disposable face shield or reusable items. During the height of the pandemic in 2020, reported guidance on single-use PPE items being considered for multiple uses where extreme shortages were prevalent. The advice from the Royal College of Nursing remained clear “Only sound scientific evidence or safety concerns should change the guidance.”, so you should avoid reusing single-use face protection regardless of the cleaning or care you give to the item.

Finding Suppliers of PPE

Whether you are interested in buying single-use or reusable PPE to replace used equipment, the market is now a minefield with suppliers offering a range of products with rapidly fluctuating prices. Availability is sporadic, with many disruptions through the supply chain meaning access to affordable PPE can be limited.

Applegate offers a simple and free solution to find multiple PPE suppliers and compare prices, ensuring a fair price is paid. 

Ordering PPE is a simple and straightforward three-step process:

Step 1: Complete an online form with details of the PPE you need.
Step 2: Our AI-powered platform matches your request with suitable suppliers and automatically requests quotations.
Step 3: Quotes are sent directly to your email, or you can log into your dashboard to review them.

Once you find a quote you are happy with, you can continue your buying discussion directly with the supplier,  we don't charge buyers a penny for this service, so there will be no price hike to counter commission being taken. Applegate's suppliers can offer quality PPE solutions to keep yourself, your staff, and customers safe. Get in touch or get a quote today.


* Image by Helena Jankovičová Kováčová from Pixabay


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