Friday, 5 June 2020

Afro Chic

Protect yourself with proper PPE

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a sense of immense panic. There is universal concern as to how to protect oneself, loved ones, colleagues and others around them. The pandemic means we cannot do business as usual and personal protective equipment (PPE) has become the necessity of the day. In these turbulent economic times, this has become a pie of which many want a slice, often to the detriment of the innocent consumer who have, in many instances- purchased counterfeit products which are of inferior quality and do not serve to adequately protect them from getting the virus or from passing it along to others.

The stark reality is that few in society know what makes for adequate PPE or what type of PPE is appropriate for their use. Clamouring to get hold of PPE in a hurry has meant that people have simply grabbed whatever they could find- regardless of its origin. In addition, the sudden requirement of PPE for both health care professionals and others has made for a shortage of equipment, sometimes leaving people feeling like they have no choice but to make use of inferior equipment that is a replica of a registered item. Indeed, these are unprecedented times and it is important to provide guidance in obtaining the correct equipment and to understand the consequences of not doing so.

Adams and Adams published a blog on this subject. It states that many unregistered, substandard and expired goods have arrived at the borders of South Africa and that many are being advertised on social media platforms and elsewhere online. It cautions about the dangers of making use of such equipment indicating that it will not protect people from the virus. It also indicates that it is possible for consumers to know the difference between original and counterfeit products through examining whether they are approved by the European CE standard, the South African National Standards and International Organisation for Standardisation and South African Bureau of Standards. This can be done through examination of the certifying documents the PPE comes with or on the PPE itself. This must be checked by the end user. 

Branded items are a good way of showing solidarity for a cause but also carry a risk. Should the branded item be found to be substandard- in this case should branded PPE be below par- the organisation who branded the item and sold or gave it to a consumer may well run the risk of liability should the product be proven to be inferior. For this reason organisations wishing to put their names and logos on PPE should first have verified that the PPE has a legitimate origin. It must also be ascertained whether it is the appropriate kind of PPE to be distributed to a specific consumer group. Certain PPE, for example, ought to be reserved for healthcare workers owing to shortages of this equipment and it is a lack of goodwill to provide this equipment to members of the public.

The importance of proper, safe and tested PPE cannot be overstated. It is up to all of us to ensure that the equipment that we use or distribute is safe and as effective as can be expected. There is a lot we do not know about the virus but what is certain is that we can all play our part in slowing its spread. Stay safe- not just by grabbing any PPE that seems available, but by making use of tried, tested and legitimate PPE.

Brought to you by Afro Chic

Image credit: United Nations COVID-19 Response

Afro Chic

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