With the renewed focus on personal protective equipment, many facility executives are relying on government subsidies to offset PPE costs. However, as funding dries up, businesses will be faced with the challenge of working these expenses into their budgets.

“People have not been put behind the eight ball yet,” says Allen. “In many cases the customers I’m seeing haven’t implemented PPE as a regular budget item because they’ve been using government funding. But now is the time to have in-depth discussions with management to assess current expenditures and anticipate fluctuations in those numbers going forward.”

Distributors also advise facility managers to review products currently in-use and consider cost-effective alternatives.

“Safety is always going to be first, and with the greater focus on PPE, custodians may be consuming more PPE products during their activities,” notes Craven. “You can’t skimp on safety, but you can work with your suppliers to review all the other products you’re using and take advantage of new, innovative technologies that save money and labor.”

In addition to consuming more PPE, cleaning executives must contend with higher prices, particularly when purchasing gloves. Ashworth, like Craven, helps customers offset these costs by identifying other areas of their business where they can save money.

“Everyday I see people using trash can liners that are too big — and if they are 25 percent too big, you’re wasting 25 percent of your money,” he says. “I try to work with customers to right-size can liners.”

Additionally, Craven and Ashworth advocate using concentrated chemicals in place of ready-to-use products, which can result in significant savings.

Facilities can also save money by adopting environmentallyfriendly products that reduce the need for personal protective equipment or eliminate it entirely.

“There are safer cleaning chemicals out there, where custodians do not need any PPE to use them,” says Attman. “So if you’re using a lot of gloves, for example, work with your vendors to find a solution that doesn’t require the use of gloves.” Last but not least, distributors urge facility managers to team up with their suppliers for training in chemical usage and PPE practices.

“Most distributors provide training on a complimentary basis, so take advantage of that. If you train your staff to do their job safely and effectively, you can save money by forgoing the need to redo tasks and reducing wasted product,” says Craven. “Training also shows employees that you care about their safety and regard them as professionals. That can help with retention, as well as recruiting.”

Kassandra Kania is a freelancer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a frequent contributor to Facility Cleaning Decisions.

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