Medical worker in PPE
SF Protective Equipment

The rise of PPE – How the UK changed overnight

Undoubtedly, the term ‘PPE’ is now a household name owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The UK has seen a huge increase in the use of PPE (Gov), provided by a robust chain of PPE suppliers, both old and new, with over 32 billion items being produced and purchased in the UK alone. 

But did you know that before the pandemic, domestic (UK) PPE production only accounted for 1% of the PPE in circulation? That’s an enormous increase, and a sterling effort by UK manufacturers who were able to innovate and adapt to continue trading throughout the pandemic in order to service the front line and other workers. 

Since February 2020, over 3.5 billion PPE items have been distributed to the frontline, including GPs, social care providers, community pharmacists, dentists and hospices. (gov)

Behind the mask

Almost overnight, Covid-19 forced us all to educate ourselves on disease prevention, airborne viruses and how we all play our part in minimising the spread. The driving force behind the change was the face mask, which up until then was only really seen in medical environments like surgeries or where infectious diseases were present. 

Yet shockingly, prior to the pandemic, 1.6 million people a year were suffering from work-related respiratory conditions, which were responsible for 13,000 deaths per year (cite). Adequate PPE will always be a necessity for some, owing to the nature of the work performed, yet before the pandemic none of us really had a clue just how uncomfortable they were to wear for hours at a time. 

When social media became saturated with images of medical workers with welts from having to wear their masks so tight and for many hours on end, we all began to realise that our responsibilities were to wear a mask also, but did we know why? And did we know which masks performed better than others?

Safety First PPE

We have a selection of masks with varying degrees of protection for the wearer. You can learn more about the different types of PPE in our blog post ‘Is it time to upgrade your facemask?’. If you have a general enquiry relating to any of our products and services please feel free to give us a call or drop us an email.