First Aid Skills Everyone Should Know

Learning first aid skills is vital for everyone. In any life-threatening emergency within the workplace, employees must act promptly and treat any potential medical issues. The quicker someone administers first aid, the greater chance they have of saving someone’s life.

Businesses should be ensuring that their workers are properly trained in first aid by implementing First Aid Training courses and strategically placing First Aid Kits around the workplace. With these resources, everyone will be aware of the crucial first aid skills needed in case of unexpected emergencies. We’ve outlined the main points below!

1. Perform CPR & Defibrillation

CPR is an absolute must for first aid training. Performing CPR will provide you with the skills and knowledge to maintain breathing and circulation in a person following a cardiac arrest.

Check out the Red Cross’s step-by-step guide to performing CPR on adults.

Alternatively, an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), can be used to handle cardiac emergencies in the workplace and beyond. It is a portable electronic device that automatically sends an electric pulse or shock to restore a heartbeat. It is highly recommended by WHS legislation. 

2. Heimlich Manoeuvre

The Heimlich Manoeuvre is used to help someone who is choking. In any emergency situation, choking can be identified if the individual cannot talk. You only have a 5 minute window to dislodge the foreign object before brain damage occurs.

To perform this first aid skill, you should stand behind the victim and wrap your arms behind them. Then, you place a fist between the person’s rib cage and belly button, before placing your other hand over that fist. Do several quick thrust upwards until the foreign object is dislodged.

The Heimlich Manoeuvre for children requires a different approach due to their smaller bodies.

3. Treat Burns

There are several types of burns, which all need to be treated differently:

  • First Degree Burns only affect the top layer of the skin, causing painful tenderness and mild swelling. These can be treated by running cool water over the skin or taking an aspirin. Antibiotic ointment can also be applied, along with loose gauze wrapping.
  • Second Degree Burns can be identified by blisters and thickening of the skin. The affected area should be run under cool clean water for 15 minutes. Placing ice on top is not recommended since it can tear off delicate skin. Antibiotic ointment and gauze can be used.
  • Third Degree Burns are the most life-threatening burns. They take on a white, leathery appearance and due to their deepness, they are very difficult to treat and can require amputations.

4. Treat Hypothermia

Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can generate it, leading to an abnormally low body temperature. Extreme coldness can cause confusion, fatigue, slurred speech, a weak pulse, and even loss of consciousness.

It is important to ensure that the victim is warmed up slowly and gradually to the right temperature. Heating or massaging the limbs of the affected person can also create stress on the heart and lungs.

Treating hypothermia involves gently removing and insulating the victim from the cold. This could mean removing wet clothing and replacing these with warm blankets or coats. Offering warm (non-alcoholic) drinks is also an option, alongside towel-wrapped hot water bottles and packs.

5. Stop Heavy Bleeding

When a main artery/vein is severed and the blood clot cannot be formed, the victim can bleed out within 10-15 minutes. This can be treated by putting pressure on the wound with a sterile cloth. Raising the wounded limb over the heart can also minimise heavy bleeding.

Identifying signs of arterial bleeding is especially important because the victim could potentially bleed out and die in just minutes. Arterial wounds are usually pulsating and have bright red blood. You must immediately put pressure on the wound until paramedics arrive and add any extra cloth if required.

6. Treat a Concussion

Concussions are defined as a mild traumatic injury caused by impact, resulting in a temporary loss of normal brain function. They are often silent assassins, so as part of first aid training, it is important to recognise the various symptoms such as headaches, concentration and memory problems, delayed speech, loss of balance and coordination.

For more information about how to diagnose and treat concussions, click here.

7. Soothe a Sprain

Many work environments can cause injuries and accidents for employees, along with any strenuous physical activity. As such, sprains can become quite common, so it is essential to know how to treat them, whether they involve rolled ankles, bruised knees or twisted shoulders.

An ace bandage can help soothe the pain of a sprained joint. After resting, the victim should make sure to avoid any physical exertion to prevent long-term cartilage and tissue damage.

8. Revive Drowning

After a near-drowning incident, first aid training becomes crucial.

You must ensure that the victim has an open airway by thrusting the jaw open, enabling the person to breathe. Pinch the nose of the victim closed and then place your mouth over theirs, creating an airtight seal. Give 2 breaths followed by 30 chest compressions – keep repeating this process until medical help arrives.

So that wraps it up – the essential first aid skills that everyone should know. To spread awareness of these crucial life-saving information and safety tips, share this article with people around you! 

For comprehensive first aid equipment and resources, visit Alsco First Aid Training. It’s affordable, flexible and compliant with WHS regulations – perfect for your business’s safety.

Importance of having Industrial Workwear – Compliance

As an employer, it is your responsibility to provide a safe environment for your staff to work in. Due to the nature of the work, the industrial sector can be very dangerous if proper safety precautions aren’t in place. Within the industry, there are several uniform legislations to help keep your staff safe. The standards are used to ensure your staff are visible (both day and night) and protected from the sun and flames.

Uniform Visibility Standards

Standard: AS/NZS 4602.1:2011- Retroreflective materials and devices for road traffic control purposes Part 4: High-visibility materials for safety garments

These standards were created to ensure high visibility of individuals who may be exposed to high risk situations such as a construction site or roadwork site. The specification details day and night uniform requirements, defines the design of the garments, including the pattern options for the reflective tape, and the area for fluorescent materials.

Importance: Makes workers more visible during the day and night in dangerous environments, thus reducing the risk of workplace accidents

Uniform UV Protection Standards

Standard: AS/NZS 4399: 1999: Sun protective clothing – Evaluation and classification

These standards outline the methodology to test fabric and classify how much ultraviolet is transmitted through it.

Importance: Protects workers from UV damage, which could possibly lead to long term health implications

Uniform Flame Retardant Standards

Standard: NFPA 2112: Standard on Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire

This standard outlines the guidelines for Flame Resistant Garments in order to protect individuals from flash fire. It outlines the minimum performance requirements, methods recommended for flame resistant fabrics and components, designs and certification requirements.

Standard: NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace

Defines and outlines the requirements for electrical safety in the workplace. This includes safe work practices and personal protective equipment that must be worn.

Importance: Flame retardant uniforms self extinguish or don’t ignite to begin with, protects wearers from clothing melting on their skin, provides thermal insulation from the heat which all in turn reduces burn injury and increases chance of survival.

Alsco works hard to keep your employees safe. Our uniforms meet the industry standards to ensure your employees always remain safe and clean. Get in contact with us today, and increase your staff’s safety!

Why the heat of the wash matters when working in the Medical & Pharmaceutical industry

Pharmacists working in Lab

Washing laundry the correct way is crucial when working in the medical and pharmaceutical industry. But what is the correct way? Is it colour sorting? Is it washing contaminated items separately to uncontaminated clothing? 

It is commonly known that microorganisms can survive on inanimate objects and surfaces for extended periods of time. These surfaces and objects then play host to growing bacteria before an unbeknownst individual walks past and comes into contact with the bacteria themselves.

A study conducted by the Infectious Disease Research Group by De Montfort University, studied contamination levels on nurses uniforms when they took it home to launder themselves. Contaminated uniforms that were washed with sterile items at 40 degrees were found to have a small amount of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on them and also contaminated the other sterile items in the wash. 

Out of the four hospitals investigated, there were discrepancies between the organisation’s recommendations on temperature of the wash cycle, large variations between the instructions regarding use of detergents, the process of drying the uniforms and washing contaminated uniforms with other items. 

It was found that 26% of staff also wore their uniforms for an average of two shifts before washing it, increasing possible contamination between shifts. It is recommended that uniforms are washed after every shift. The study concluded that trusting employees to wash uniforms correctly was impossible to monitor, as staff may not always follow correct procedures when laundering. 

A few key factors for washing uniforms at home include, washing uniforms immediately after each shift for a minimum of 10 minutes at 60 degrees. Uniforms should also be stored separately from other clothing, regardless if the uniform is cleaned. A laundry detergent should also always be used.

Don’t want to rely on your staff for the health & safety of your work environment? Outsource your laundry!

At Alsco, we have a managed uniform rental service, which is a cost effective solution to purchasing uniforms and relying on your staff for a clean work environment. We will provide you with an agreed amount of garments, and will come and collect the soiled, used laundry while providing you with a freshly laundered set of garments. 

All of our garments are laundered with strict adherence to heat of wash, ensuring that your staff are not hosts to unknown bacteria between shifts. Get in touch with us today to organise your staff’s uniforms needs!

Promoting Healthy Workplaces

With the recent COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the globe, the importance of a healthy and clean workplace has become the highest priority. Providing that security and safety, and comfort of mind, for your staff and your visitors has never been more critical. Ensuring the good health of your staff can reduce absentee rates and increase staff engagement leading to greater overall productivity and staff retention.

There are many ways that you can ensure that your workplace provides facilities services, floor solutions, and sanitary solutions, which organisations such as Alsco are ideally positioned to help you with. Beyond that, studies have found that implementing comprehensive and structured health programs actually led to increased savings due to higher productivity levels and reduced staff turnover.

Health promotion is the process of enabling individuals to increase control over and improve their health. Three ways this can be achieved is through:

  • Health Education: educating the individual on nutrition, hygiene and other health topics
  • Health Prevention: regular health checks and immunisations
  • Health Protection: providing a healthy environment (e.g. smoke free)

So as an employer, what can you do to promote a healthier workplace?

As seen in recent months, education around the importance of good personal and hand hygiene should be prioritised. Having good hygiene – for instance, regular supplies of hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes available for staff – is one of the best ways employees can protect themselves and their colleagues from getting illnesses, and has been highlighted as key to the fight against the spread of diseases such as COVID-19. Simple education surrounding hand hygiene, refraining from hand shakes, using tissues when you sneeze, and binning litter, used masks or tissues immediately after use can make a difference.

Other ways to promote a healthier workplace include:

  • Physical Activities
    • Encourage walking meetings, subsidising gym memberships and provide standing desks
  • Health Screenings
    • Provide regular health checkups for employees, provide wearable technology to monitor health indicators
  • Stress Management
    • Provide free or subsidised stress management or counselling sessions
    • Mental health first aid and education
    • Provide rest areas and sleep pods
  • Work Life Balance
    • Provide flexible working hours
  • Workplace Infrastructure
    • Provide stairs, showers and bike racks to promote physical activity
    • On site gyms or fitness programs
  • Chronic Disease Management
    • Insulin testing on site
    • Subsidised GP or specialist checkups
  • Nutrition
    • Provide healthier cafeteria options
    • Eliminate or reduce foods with high fat, sugar and salt content
    • Provision of free fruit or other healthier options

Investing in the short and long term health of your employees can provide a great return on investment for your organisation and your employees.

At Alsco, we value the health of your employees. We provide staff education on first aid, first aid kits, uniforms to protect the health of your employees and washroom services to improve hygiene around the office.

We have also developed a new range of Back to Work products outside of our traditional portfolio that we are delighted to make available to you for direct sale, to help you keep operating in the most hygienic way possible.

Get in touch with us today to improve the health and wellbeing of your staff.

What types of floor mats does your facility need?

Although floor mats are generally used for protection, decoration and comfort in private homes, did you know that having the right kind of mat can be used to improve your workplace safety, hygiene, and employee well-being?

The use of strategically placed floor mats can increase your organisation’s productivity and improve hygiene. A lot of thought is put into creating the perfect environment for your employees, with standing desks, ergonomic chairs and the like, but organisations rarely look at what could be done below our feet to enhance their employee’s work experience, especially if a majority of their shift is spent standing.

So what kind of mats are available and how can it help my organisation and employees?

Service Not Purchase

The first thing to consider is whether simply buying a few mats outright is the right solution for your business. Whilst it is a one-off purchase, you need to remember that these mats will get dirty and worn quickly – and you need to clean these just as stringently as any other item or surface in your business, especially during any time where hygiene is of paramount importance.  That is why a managed service is the best solution for many organisations, so that they can benefit from the improved floor solutions at the same time as benefiting from the peace of mind of regular replacement and professional cleaning.

Once you have made the choice to have a managed service, though, you still need to choose the mats themselves!

Wet Area Mats

Designed for areas that are frequently wet, whether it is from the nature of the job or the weather, having a wet area mat provides a safe barrier to prevent any slips occurring in your workplace. These mats are carefully designed for the environment they are in, with holes in to allow liquids to flow through, ensuring traction remains high for maximum skid or slip resistance. Ideal for wet markets, restaurants, bars, commercial kitchens and factories, these mats are made from durable, quick-drying, antimicrobial rubber, to ensure maximum staff safety.

Alsco’s Wet Area Mats:

  • Are highly resistant to oils, solvents and water
  • Fight off bacteria growth with anti-microbial properties
  • Reduce pressure and strains with a cushioned design
  • Textured, gripping material for safety
  • Permeable to allow scraps and liquids to pass through

Anti Fatigue Mats

Wet Area & Anti Fatigue Mat

Often your staff can be on their feet all day, which can lead to fatigue, leg and back pain, tiredness and reduced productivity – even to sick leave if problems escalate. Ideal for areas where staff are standing for a long period of time such as bars, retail and hotel receptions, these mats can also be more specialised to serve more than its original intended purpose, e.g. Wet area anti fatigue mats.

Alsco’s Anti Fatigue Mats:

  • Are Designed to be comfortable and minimise injury
  • Have an antimicrobial treatment that stays with the mat it’s whole life
  • Are textured for grip and safety
  • Have bevelled edges for safe step up

Dust Control and Floor Protection Mats

Dust Control Mat

The busiest areas in your workspace are often the dirtiest due to high foot traffic. Ideal for the front doorways and entrances to your hallways, dust control mats trap 80% of dirt, dust and water before it’s tracked right around the organisation – and before that dirt is spread throughout the building!

Alsco’s Dust Control and Floor Protection Mats:

  • Are environmentally friendly, made from recycled PET bottles
  • Won’t stain or fade
  • Have super absorption qualities
  • Lay flat every time
  • Have a choice of backing patterns to ensure they stay in place on all surfaces

Get in touch with Alsco today to organise floor mats for your organisation! Our range of high quality, technologically advanced mats will save your business cleaning costs, eliminate the need to replace expensive flooring and help keep your staff and customers safe.

Decrease contamination by outsourcing your uniform laundry needs

Chef wearing uniform

Cross contamination in the health care and food and beverage industries is steadily increasing and causing significant health concerns. Employees are wearing their uniforms outside of their work environment, uniforms are not being washed correctly and surfaces are not being cleaned regularly.  But how can you guarantee hygienic uniforms are available when you need them?

Protect the health of your employees, customers and the public by outsourcing your uniform laundry needs. At Alsco, we have a managed uniform rental service, which sees us providing clean uniforms for your staff. When the items are soiled, Alsco will return and pick up the dirty uniforms and provide you with clean ones, all processed by one of our HACCP accredited facilities.

Most companies don’t realise how easy it is to cross contaminate their clothing or other materials. So why don’t we run through a typical day of, for example, a waiter who works in front of house at a restaurant.

They wake up, eat breakfast, have a shower and get dressed. If their work clothes were not washed correctly (washed at a minimum of 60 degrees for 10 minutes, with laundry detergent), their uniform is already contaminated from the previous shift and has probably already contaminated any other item it was washed with. Given that most domestic washing machines have “quick” cycles, often on cold wash or 30 degrees, this is a hidden issue that is often ignored.

The individual then leaves the house, uses public transport to get to work. While on the bus, their clothes will have most likely picked up other bacteria, pet hair and germs commonly found in public environments. They have now arrived at the restaurants’ kitchen, ready to start their shift. They may put an apron on (if brought with them from home, this is most likely contaminated as well), on top of their clothing that looks visibly cleaned, however is far from it.

Bacteria and germs can then be passed to customers, through shaking hands with customers, when their meals are served to them or when the table is set before the customers have sat down; as well as to other staff in the restaurant both in the kitchen and on the floor, depending on the layout. This is just the journey of one restaurant waiter, with countless other possibilities of cross contamination that could have also happened.

If laundry of the uniforms were outsourced, staff are required to leave the uniforms in their work environment, ensuring that they are not bringing any of the bacteria on their uniforms, with them on their journey home. Uniforms are also washed at the correct temperature, ensuring the maximum possible amount of bacteria has been killed. Any new uniform they wear at the start of their shift, has been professionally cleaned.

By using a uniform rental company for food & beverage wear, pharmaceutical garments, medical wear or industrial workwear, you are able to better protect the public. Decision makers in these industries need to consider the risks against the benefits. Although it may be cheaper for employees to purchase their own uniforms, is it worth harming the public for your benefit?

Let Alsco handle your uniform needs and thus decrease countless cross contamination possibilities and increase the health and safety of your workers!

COVID-19: Employers Guide for Returning to Work

The time has come for companies to start thinking about getting their staff back to work. Rules and regulations are finally relaxing, to try and get normality into everyone’s lives again. But where do you start? What do you need to know to ensure a safe and hygienic workplace for your employees?

Regulations are different for each industry, depending on how close you’re required to get to other individuals. For some such as hairdressers or nail technicians, it is crucial for employees to return to the business premise in order to provide the service, while for office based employees, services can still be provided from those working from home depending on the company and circumstances.

Firstly, a COVIDSafe plan needs to be developed prior to staff returning to work. The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission has created a template which businesses can use to prepare. The toolkit comprises three sections; keeping people safe, adapting your business for COVID-19 and advice on accessing support and assistance. The template includes links to regulations and information that is regularly updated to ensure your business is on top and aware of any changes and helps you prepare for different states of the pandemic. It should be revised frequently, particularly when restrictions and conditions change.

Some employees may be hesitant to return to work, fearing that their health may be at risk with the increase of social interaction. Employers need to reassure their staff that a COVIDSafe plan has been created to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, while still being mindful of their employees health and wellbeing, especially if they are deemed vulnerable. 

If possible, employers could plan a staged introduction with portions of staff returning at different times. A rotating schedule with different groups of employees working at the office during different days of the week is a great start. Employers should enquire about their employees’ mode of transport into work. For those that require public transport, they should be allowed to start at staggered times, in order to avoid peak hour on public transport systems. 

With modern open plan workplaces, employees are usually seated in close physical contact with one another. Physical setup of offices should be rethought to ensure regulations around social distancing, employee gatherings and hygiene practises are still met. Social distancing regulations recommend a minimum of 1.5 metres between individuals which can affect general office setups, hot desks and shared spaces like the lunch room. 

At Alsco, we’ve been providing hygienic and sanitised professional textile rental services throughout Australia since 1963. Known for our commitment to cleanliness and hygiene, excellence in service, and our friendly approach, we’re here to help you through this. Get in touch with us today if you require a commercial linen service, an uniform rental range, corporate clothing, chef uniforms and rubber floor matting to assist in your workplace getting back to normal.

Returning to Work During COVID-19 – Things to Consider

As restrictions are easing around the country, the time has come for businesses to start preparing and thinking about how to get their staff back into work. With social distancing measures still in full force and the cold season on it’s way, what can staff members do to keep themselves protected and healthy while returning to work?

Mental Health and Wellbeing

With the uncertainty of the future, some individuals may feel anxious about returning to work. We don’t know what the future holds for us and our work, which can trigger unnecessary worrying and for some lead to physical symptoms. Getting back out into society may trigger panic attacks or revive past conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorders. For those experiencing anxiety, giving up control may help. However this is easier said than done. With constant news bombarding us on every new statistic about the pandemic, the worry keeps increasing that if they go out they may get infected. While there is an element of risk, washing hands for the recommended amount of time and frequency and wearing a mask are a great start. It is important to keep social distancing practices in mind when you are out in public in order to give yourself the best protection you can. 

Public Transport

As workers start preparing to go back into work, the use of public transport increases. Some restrictions are being placed on the number of individuals allowed on buses, trains and ferries, but if possible public transport should be avoided. For those that have no other option, maintaining social distancing while using public transport and staying home if unwell is highly recommended. Avoid crowded lifts and escalators and consider checking the capacity of your service on an app or live tracker before boarding to ensure social distancing is able to be maintained. 

Shared Workspaces

For some offices, shared desks or ‘hot’ desks are common. The practise of changing desks daily used to be exciting and fun, however with recent events employees should remain at one desk and ‘claim’ their space. The flow between collaboration spaces, meeting rooms and kitchens should be managed, ensuring only a limited number of individuals are using it at one time. 

Effective communication between staff, employees and customers are essential in these times. Employers should be empathetic when considering employee safety, mental and physical wellbeing and managing staff engagement. At Alsco, we’ve been providing hygienic and sanitised professional textile rental services throughout Australia since 1963. Get in touch with us today, to see how we can help your business remain clean and hygienic during these times!

Adapting Post Covid: Restaurant Hygiene – Recommendations for Reopening

With restrictions around the country easing, restaurants and bars are starting to open up with certain conditions. For most individuals, the opportunity to have a drink or dine out is an exciting prospect, but what should restaurants be doing to maintain the utmost hygiene and social distancing standards? We’ve listed some recommendations for restaurants to consider when reopening.

Firstly no part of COVID-19 is a foodborne disease. It can only be spread from person to person, through coughing, touching contaminated surfaces or being in close proximity with an infected individual.

Food Safety

Food safety has always been a priority for the restaurant industry, for both customers and employees. Communal self-serve stations are great nesting grounds for bacteria due to the large number of touch points between a large variety of individuals. Self service buffet style foods, salad bars, cutlery and glass stations should be removed or access monitored. Drinking water should be provided at the table rather than self service stations. 

Cleaning and Sanitation

A thorough detailed cleaning of the entire premise is recommended, especially if the business has been closed for a period of time. Cleaning and disinfecting should be focused on high contact areas frequently, with seldom touch areas also being cleaned as often as possible. Ensure cleaning materials are of disinfectant strength (check the label), while avoiding surfaces containing food when cleaning. 

Between seatings, condiments such as sugar, salt and pepper should be cleaned or kept separately and only provided when customers request it. Digital ordering devices, door handles, table tops, menus, and back of chairs should also be cleaned between seatings. Single use items should immediately be discarded, with paper menus being discarded. Restrooms should be cleaned and sanitised based on frequency of use. It is also a good initiative to make hand sanitisers readily available for all customers.

Monitoring Employee Health and Personal Hygiene

Employees should be encouraged to remain at home if they’re sick and be excluded from work until they are deemed safe to return by a health professional. Employers should also implement a pre-work screening process before the start of each shift. Symptoms of COVID-19, include fever, coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath and any individuals presenting these should immediately get tested. Training should be conducted on appropriate cleaning measures and also effective hand washing and drying techniques so your staff are well-informed of correct procedures.

Social Distancing

Physical distancing is an important component to creating a safe environment for staff and customers. Floor plans should be redesigned to ensure there is at least 1.5 metres between seated tables. Patron movement surrounding the entry and exit from the restaurant should be considered, and if practicable have a separate entrance for each. Guests should be seated as soon as possible to avoid congregation in waiting areas or bar areas. Remind third party delivery drivers and suppliers that social distancing measures are in place and congregating around the entrances is discouraged.

Technology

Make technology your friend! Introduce contactless payment systems, automated ordering systems, or mobile ordering apps to help you conduct business with the reduced need for close contact. As restaurants start to open, make sure you’re constantly communicating with your customers through social media, website updates and simple texts advising them of opening times, menu items and reservation options.

With restaurants opening up, Alsco is here to help! With our managed uniform rental service, you can rent your hospitality staff aprons and uniforms, ensuring your employee’s always have access to hygienic and sanitary uniforms while reducing the risk of cross-contamination. Check out our range of hospitality uniforms here.

What to look for when purchasing Face Masks

Man wearing Facemask

Wearing a face mask can help individuals feel protected and reassured that they are doing the best they can for their health. There are many different kinds of face masks available, all of which have a different ‘correct’ way to be worn, and different levels of protection. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has seen people get creative with creating their own masks, turning household items such as plastic water bottles into face masks, but should you wear a mask?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends using masks only if you:

  • Have a fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms
  • Are personally healthy but need to wear a mask if you’re caring for someone with a respiratory illness.

Masks are only effective when used in combination with frequent hand washing either with soap and water or an alcohol based hand rub.

So what is the best mask to protect your health?

The three most common face masks available are:

  • Surgical mask
  • N95 respirator
  • Homemade cloth mask

Surgical Masks 

The most common mask, Surgical Masks, are designed to be disposable and loose fitting but still covering your nose, mouth and chin. Although designs vary, most are a rectangular shaped with a metal strip to form around the bridge of your nose and elastic bands (to be locked behind your ears) or ties (to be tied behind your head).

Surgical masks need to be worn correctly for them to be effective. Instructions on how to correctly put masks on can be found here. A properly worn mask may help block transmission of large-particle microorganisms from droplets, sprays, splatters, and splashes while also reducing hand to face contact. 

N95 Respirator

These masks are more form fitting and tighter than surgical face masks. N95 masks protect you similarly to surgical masks however, N95 masks can also filter out 95% of very small particles, including virus and bacteria. Some types may include an exhalation valve, which can help breathing and the buildup of heat and humidity. 

Designed to form a tight seal, with elastic bands holding it firmly to your face, N95 respirators are the chosen mask for many health professionals. However, these masks aren’t one size fits all. In order for the mask to be effective, it must be ‘fit tested’ to make sure a proper seal is formed. It is harder to achieve a tight seal in some individuals, especially children and those with facial hair. 

Homemade cloth masks

Although the least effective method out of all the masks, wearing it can still be useful in areas you’re unable to practise social distancing. These areas could include public places, e.g. the supermarket, pharmacies or public transport. Creating your own cloth or other material face masks, ensures surgical masks or N95 respirators are reserved for healthcare workers and medical first responders.

What not to do when wearing a mask

It is crucial when wearing masks, that proper steps be taken to ensure maximum safety. Avoid dangling the mask from one ear, hanging the mask around your neck or touching the mask once it’s secured on your face. Surgical and N95 masks are only designed for single use and reusing them can reduce its effectiveness/efficiency in blocking pathogens reaching your face. 

Although social distancing should be practised wherever possible, face masks can still be handy to have as an added protection. Did you know that you touch your face 23 times, on average, per hour? Therefore it is still crucial to maintain good hand hygiene, which includes washing your hands thoroughly, with soap for at least 20 seconds to ensure you remain in good health.

Alsco has been helping Australians prosper since 1963. We’re one of the leading providers of linen, workwear, commercial floor mats, industrial cleaners, first and training and washroom hygiene services across Australia. Get in touch with us today, and let us take the hassle out of mundane tasks so you can focus on what you do best.