complacency in the face of increasing market de- mand, which threatens to outstrip supply for the foreseeable future. Looking ahead, Sarah believes that adequate PPE take-up by business and contin- uing to follow social distancing guidelines remains crucial. “Before the pandemic hit Full Support was

supplying 95% market share of FFP3 respirators,” explains Sarah. “Tat initial stock has been used up and we’re now starting production of FFP3 respirator masks, the highest level of protection available to those caring for COVID-19 patients, at our Northamptonshire factory later in the year.” So what does the average person not under-

stand about PPE? “Regulations,” Sarah adds. “Tere have been lots

of people and businesses wanting to help hospitals by repurposing what they do to create PPE, without realising there are specific standards and testing that has to be adhered to. “Most PPE is designed to be used just once and

then disposed of. Tere are some products that are re-useable, but these are often intended for long- term use in specialist environments. With the great- est respect there’s no way a member of the public or a company using a standard 3D printer can achieve this with immediate affect. “One of the great ironies of this pandemic is that individuals and small businesses who’ve produced home-made PPE are often having their creations accepted by health agencies, while fully-certified companies such as our own are continuing to face rigorous checking on all of our products. “Any businesses purchasing PPE need to use

the same financial judgement they would with any transaction. If they’re pre-paying and sourcing from

overseas they need to ensure the product will actually turn up. Te best solution is to use a reputable UK company offering little to no risk because it makes sense to order stock from within the country. Keep in mind that if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is!” All of which leads to the subject of whether PPE in the workplace is the new normal, and how businesses of different sizes and structures can make the best decisions on how to keep their staff and clients safe. Te choices to be made are clear, notes Sarah: “Businesses need

protection across their individual sites against what is essentially a clinical problem. “By talking to our clients we understand their working environment and the number of staff involved. Tere are some straightforward solu- tions, like staggering lunchtimes and implementing social distancing within workspaces. Once we’ve discussed areas of potential exposure we can then advise on eyewear, respiratory and workwear PPE needs. “How long this approach will be required is very hard to tell at the moment. Everything depends on the pandemic, and how govern- ment-led legislation and requirements develop. Clearly, employers have a duty of care to risk-assess their workplace and any staff who have to operate in close proximity, whether unloading boxes or preparing food, require certain levels of protection. “Full Support Group is now expanding to supply other industrial

and consumer needs across the UK and we’ve produced value-add packs of PPE for use by families, retailers and organisations which could include everything from schools and care homes, through to petrol stations, public transport, hairdressers and sports facilities. “Affordable prices married to high-quality products contin-

ue to prove a winning formula and we’re now delivering greater volumes of PPE through vending machines and other point of sale locations. “No matter what personal protection is used the key message that

everyone must remember is to ‘always wash your hands!’ Tis simple action is a key weapon in the fight against COVID-19 and will help us all emerge from this crisis.”

For further details visit: ALL THINGS BUSINESS 51

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