In terms of putting the necessary safety precautions in place, it makes sense to think about the law enforcement sector from a front to back perspective. From community policing through the courts and into the nation’s prison system, there are inherent risks at every level.

From headlines to cop shows, the general public gets a broad view of what boots-on-the-ground peace officers face on a daily basis. Now consider that all of the worst and most violent convicted offenders taken into custody are housed in prisons. That’s why the steadfast men and women that go to work in correctional facilities deserve the best personal protective equipment possible. When decision-makers in the penal system consider the best ways to keep prison personnel and inmates alike safe, they would be wise to have a full complement of disposable protective clothing on hand.

Why Prisons Need Disposable Protective Clothing Options

It’s not uncommon to think about protective equipment in law enforcement as helmets, shields and body armor. Those types of protective gear remain invaluable in preventing injury from hard impacts. Violent felonies too often harm law enforcement and correctional officers by striking them with fists as well as blunt and sharp objects. But that type of protective gear may not stand up to sometimes unknown health risks. Infectious diseases, hazardous chemical agents, and other toxins also pose a clear and present danger to correctional officers, prisoners, and prison personnel. Only appropriate personal protective clothing can stop skin and face contact.

Disposable Protective Clothing for Correctional Officers and Prison Staff

It’s essential to keep in mind that a correctional facility operates like a small city. Behind the high walls topped with barbed wire and steel bars are many of the things you experience in everyday life. A full-scale prison is likely to have exercise areas, kitchens, dining spaces, medical examination spaces, and administrative offices. In everyday life, organizations would require staff and cleanup crews to adorn disposable protective clothing when carrying out routine duties. These are compromising situations prison workers must negotiate.

Correctional Officers

Frontline guards are tasked with maintaining order and peace among the prison population. It’s no secret that inmates engage in violence. During violent events, blood and saliva can land on officials as they intervene and restore order. This places correctional officers at risk of contracting blood-borne pathogens and diseases that are transmitted through bodily fluids. When prison violence erupts, correctional offers need more than just body armor. They need disposable protective clothing that protects against microscopic dangers.

While incidents such as prison violence are active threats, correctional officers also engage in numerous more passive duties. Many of these highlight the necessity of full protective gear. Such responsibilities include the following.

  • Searching prisoner cells for contraband, drugs, and hazardous materials.
  • Conducting strip searches for lethal weapons.
  • Checking inside a prisoner's mouth for hidden items.
  • Processing newly arriving inmates for the first time.
  • Overseeing cleaning operations where hazardous chemicals are used.
  • Overseeing kitchen operations and cleanup.
  • Overseeing prison laundry operations where chemical cleaning agents are present.
  • Transporting sick inmates to emergency vehicles or prison hospitals.
  • Standing guard over at-risk inmates in close quarters.

Regardless of where or what duty a correctional officer is performing, they are often in tight spaces. That places them at a heightened risk of blood-borne, airborne, and sprayed toxins. The only way to ensure health and wellbeing is protective clothing that can slip conveniently over uniforms as needed.

Prison Healthcare Providers

It may come as something of a surprise to those that work outside the prison system, but inmates require on-site health care. This means that the institution is tasked with bringing in nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors, and other professionals from the medical sector.

Correctional facilities often hire a certain number of healthcare professionals as direct employees. Others may work as independent contractors or be part of a nearby hospital or medical center. In terms of disposable protective clothing options, the correctional facility is tasked with keeping a supply of hospital-rated protective outfits at all times.

Correctional officers and medical teams deal with many of the same health hazards that are prevalent in tight and secure spaces such as prisons. It makes cost-effective sense to outfit medical personnel and correctional officers with disposable protective clothing such as Enviro Guard’s ChemSplash line that can interchangeably serve both professional's needs.

Disposable Protective Clothing for Prisoners

It may seem almost counterintuitive, but prison inmates also require safety equipment to carry out assigned tasks. As mentioned above, large prisons are geared toward self-sufficiency, and that means many have wings that support daily living needs. In the private sector, many of the sub-operations are commonly recognized for OSHA and department of health agency oversight and regulations. These include the following :

Prison Kitchen Facilities

A large-scale prison operation may be tasked with feeding upwards of 10,000 inmates three times per day, 365 days per year. That calls for massive food processing, cooking, and serving duties to run large kitchens, refrigeration, grills, ovens, and food preparation areas. All of these work areas must remain sanitary, and disposable clothing items such as gloves, splash-resistant outerwear, and hairnets are needed to ensure food safety.

At the end of meals, waste disposal and industry-strength cleaning products are needed to sanitize food preparation areas. Splash-resistant disposable protective clothing is a must for prisoner safety in these food settings.

Prison Laundry Operations

At this juncture, it’s easy to understand that inmate laundry is no simple task. Providing clean clothing for a large prison population would be comparable to handling all of the collection, washing, and drying responsibilities for a small college. Needless to say, industrial-strength laundry detergent, bleach, and other products call for protective gloves and appropriate fitting disposable wear. A protective layer between harsh cleaning products and those tasked with handling thousands of inmate uniforms and undergarments each day is not optional, it’s a mandated necessity.

Industrial Cleanups

Unlike private sector businesses, it’s not practical to have third party contractors come into a correctional facility and carry out the routine cleanup. In fact, that would generally run against policy and put honest people at risk.

That means institutions must provide basic training to those within the population. There are a wide range of spaces that will call for routine cleanup by inmates. Many require industrial-grade cleaning products and processes. Given the fact that incarcerated people are not usually professionally-trained commercial cleaners, they are more apt to splash harmful products. That creates a heightened risk of injury without disposable protective equipment.

The public perception of law enforcement risks is often focused on the front end of the process. Arrests, searches and seizures, and other duties undertaken by police or hazmat professionals certainly require top-rated protective equipment. But those who work in correctional institutions are also in harm’s way each and every day. They deserve only the best disposable protective clothing available.

International Enviroguard is a designer and manufacturer of disposable protective clothing. For over 25 years, it has been servicing the industrial, manufacturing, healthcare and prison & corrections marketplaces.