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Anti-Viral Face Masks Coronavirus Protection Disinfectants Disposable Apparel Disposable Face Masks Face Masks Face Shields Hand Sanitizers Respirators

All Face Masks Not Created Equal

n95 respirators, face masks

Face Masks and other FDA Regulated COVID-19 Products

What is the FDA?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or USFDA) is a federal agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA promotes public health through control and supervision of product categories.

What does the FDA regulate?

  • Foods
  • Drugs
  • Medical Devices
  • Electronic Products that give off radiation
  • Cosmetics
  • Veterinary Products
  • Tobacco Products

Classifications and Types of Face Masks and Respirators

Reduce transfer of germs and contamination. Minimize contamination caused by exhaled microorganisms and contagious droplets. Protect yourself and others by using the right kind of face mask or respirator.

Disposable Face Masks

disposable face mask

A face mask, with or without a face shield. Covers the user’s nose and mouth and may or may not meet fluid barrier or filtration efficiency levels.

From anti virus masks to cleanroom masks to surgical procedure medical face masks, Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies is a trusted source for many types of disposable face masks and respirators. Popular variations include reusable face masks and earloop face masks.

Reusable Face Masks

Reusable Face Mask with Filter

Cotton ear loop face masks that you can wash and use over and over. Sewn-in filter face masks step up your protection. Comfortable, effective, and reusable, washable cloth masks are a popular standard for everyday wear. Form-fitting cloth masks are an economical choice for face protection to prevent contamination.

Face Shields

face shield with face mask and bouffant

A face shield is a device used to protect the user’s eyes and face from bodily fluids, liquid splashes, or potentially infectious materials. Generally, a face shield is situated at the crown of the head and is constructed with plastic to cover the user’s eyes and face.

A face mask with a shield is a good solution in situations where you need to add protection to the eyes against liquid splash and other factors in the environment.

The Shift to Shields

Amidst COVID-19, worldwide use of personal protection is shifting from face masks to face shields.

Surgical Masks

surgical mask with eye shield

A mask that covers the user’s nose and mouth and provides a physical barrier to fluids and particulate materials. The mask meets certain fluid barrier protection standards and Class I or Class II flammability tests.

Ideal for both medical applications and other situations that are prone to splatters or fumes such as painting, superior full-face protection.

Filtering Face-Piece Respirators

reusable filter respirator

Comparatively, a filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) is a device that with these features: disposable half-face-piece, non-powered, and a air-purifying particulate respirator. Intended for use to cover the nose and mouth of the wearer to help reduce wearer exposure to pathogenic biological airborne particulates. This reusable N95 mask uses replaceable filters with a comfortable and reusable facepiece.

Dust Masks and Respirators are considered essential protective equipment in many industries where excessive dust and air particles can seriously damage workers’ lungs and respiratory system. Wearing a Disposable Respirator is an effective and cost-effective technique to protect against harmful contaminants and pathogens that can cause serious health issues. 

N95 Mask Respirators

disposable n95 respirator

A disposable half-mask filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) that covers the user’s airway (nose and mouth) and offers protection from particulate materials at an N95 filtration efficiency level per 42 CFR 84.181. N95 FFR used in a healthcare setting is regulated by FDA. In addition they are also either a class II device that is exempt from premarket requirements, or a class II cleared device.

A respirator mask is a must-have personal protective equipment in many professions. Wearing a N95 respirator serves as a contamination protection against a number of harmful pathogens and airborne particulates, droplets, and aerosols that can cause serious illness. 

NIOSH Approved N95 Respirators

NOISH approved disposable n95 respirator

An N95 respirator, approved by NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) that meets filtration efficiency level per 42 CFR 84.181.

Surgical N95 Respirators

Disposable FFR used in a healthcare setting. Particularly worn by Healthcare Providers (HCP) during procedures to protect both the patient and HCP from the transfer of microorganisms, body fluids, and particulate material. At an N95 filtration efficiency level per 42 CFR 84.181. Surgical N95 respirators are regulated by FDA. Similarly, they are either a class II device that is exempt from premarket notification requirements, or is a class II cleared device.

Your choice of face mask is important. Minimize contamination. Reduce exposure. Find cost-effective and efficient filtration for infection control in health care, and anywhere!

Make sure to get the right kind of face mask or respirator for your needs. Wearing the wrong kind of protection can be like not wearing any at at all. Need help? Get in touch! We’ll be glad to assist in your selection.

Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies

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Cleanroom Disposable Apparel Disposable Coveralls Safety Safety Apparel

3 Benefits of Disposable Coveralls

Disposable coveralls are used to provide protection to the body without the hassle of decontaminating used suits. They are quick to deploy and quite easy to use. Coveralls are a great choice for visitors and workers who come to your facility.

Protect workers and make the job comfortable and safer.

#1: Affordable & Eco-Friendly

Disposable coveralls are affordable. Yes, there are reusable coveralls and garments that last longer. However, they are more expensive than disposable apparel and have to be laundered. The extra cost of laundering and handling make disposable coveralls an affordable option. No wasted water used to clean means they’re more friendly to the environment.

Microporous Coveralls with Hood & Boot
Microporous Cleanroom Coveralls with Hood & Boot

Critical Environments like Cleanrooms depend on coveralls to insure absolute cleanliness.

Read More about Cleanroom Disposables and Consumables.

#2: Comfortable & Always Clean

Coveralls are available in a lot of different styles. Now, workers in any industry can remain comfortable and safe while wearing disposable coveralls. Optional clothing components such as disposable coveralls with hood and boot offer complete coverage and protection.

PolyGard White Polypropylene Coveralls, elastic wrist & ankle, 25/case
White Polypropylene Coveralls, elastic wrist & ankle

Many fabrics used disposable apparel are lightweight and breathable. Workers benefit from the reduced risk of heat stress and heat-related fatigue while still being protected.

#3: Versatile Protection

Disposable Coveralls and Apparel are incredibly versatile. Disposal coveralls come in different fabrics, styles, and thickness.

Importantly, some workers require liquid tight weaves to keep the dangerous chemicals and moisture out whereas others need protective fabrics that breath. Coveralls are best for single use applications but can be recycled or lightly reused depending on the application.

Tyvek TY122S Coveralls with hood & boot, 25/case
Tyvek TY122S Coveralls with hood & boot, 25/case

For instance, maintenance and environmental workers benefit from the comfort and safety features of Tyvek coveralls and can use these garments in multiple situations. Paint workers can benefit from the full-body coverage and disposable nature helps with cleanup costs. Medical workers and researchers benefits from the sanitary features of disposable apparel as well.

Disposable Coveralls are essential safety gear in many professions and industries. The right kind of disposable coverall is good for those who need protection from a particular hazard. Coveralls are a great choice and are an effective alternative to non-disposable fabric protective garments.

Also, they are ideal coveralls for mold remediation, asbestos abatement among other hazardous work; and provide good comfort and body protection in many circumstances.

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Anti-Viral Face Masks Coronavirus Protection Disposable Apparel Disposable Face Masks Face Masks Face Shields Safety Tips

What you should know: Face Shields, Masks, and Coronavirus

Shields could be the answer for some professionals who require more protection from Coronavirus.

Face Shields are a growing part of hospital protocol, and some infectious disease professionals are calling for greater adoption outside medical settings.

How do Face Shields protect from Coronavirus?

Unlike face masks that protect the nose and mouth, shields may also keep the virus from entering through the eyes.

The new coronavirus spreads mostly through droplets expelled from an infected person coughing, sneezing, or talking. A shield cover the eyes, mouth and nose; the areas of potential infection. Shields cover more of the face than masks, so infected droplets are less likely to land anywhere near your eyes, mouth or nose.

Face Shields protect against Infectious Droplets

Shields block droplets, which are larger particles that drop to the floor due to gravity, but not aerosols, smaller particles that may linger in the air when exhaled during a dental procedure or intubation.

A face shield can be a good option for additional coverage. Eye protection could result in a large reduction in virus infections and provides additional protection to mask wearers. In health care settings, eye protection has shown to reduce risk compared with no eye protection, but more evidence is needed.

Shield Shift: PPE usage moving from Masks to Shields … and here’s why:

Shields alone are widely thought to be just as effective in preventing an infected person from infecting others. Though guidance is offered to use face shields in conjunction with face masks until more research is available. Droplets can go out the side of shields and risk infection.

Face Shields can be easier to wear for prolonged periods, especially for those with breathing problems. Shields can help stop the outbreak, and are less restrictive than face masks.

It makes sense to pair shields with masks for added protection for medical professionals, first responders, service workers, personal trainers, barbers, dentists, and others who work closely with people.

Wrap-Around Face Shield Visor for more Protection

How to choose the best Face Shields:

  1. Waterproof, clear plastic material
  2. Shield extends below the chin and reaches to the ears
    • Ideally a wrap-around design to minimize exposure out the sides
  3. Fits without gaps at the forehead

How to safely use and handle Coronavirus PPE

Properly taking off personal protective equipment is key to preventing infection. 

  1. Use clean or new masks and shields each time. 

    use clean masks and shields every time

  2. Properly handle and dispose after use. 

    Remove shields without touching the plastic.
    Remove face masks without touching the filter.
    How to safely handle a face mask Copy

  3. Disinfect your hands

    Use soap and water and scrub for 40 seconds.
    wash your hands

  4. Clean and Store

    If reusable, clean with disinfectant spray, alcohol wipe, or rinse with soap and water before putting it away in a place where it cannot get contaminated.
    clean and store

More on how to protect yourself from COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

How to wear a face mask
You may also want to read: How to wear a face mask
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Anti-Viral Face Masks Chemical Resistant Gloves Cleaning Supplies Disinfectants Disposable Apparel Disposable Face Masks Disposable Gloves Dust Masks & Respirators Face Masks Food Handling Food Service Wipes Gloves Janitorial Lab Supplies Latex Gloves Medical Exam Gloves Nitrile Gloves Polyethylene Gloves Pre-Saturated Wipes Respirators Safety Safety Apparel Sanitizers Tips Vinyl Gloves Wipes

Preparing Supplies for Pandemics

Pandemics and wide-ranging outbreaks claim millions of lives, economic meltdowns, affect public health, and disrupt societies. It is not enough to wait for the pandemic to start spreading before taking precautions against large scale outbreaks.  It would help if you got prepared by creating a foundation against the spread.

Effective preparedness of pandemic supplies and complemented efforts will strengthen systems and prevent further spread. In this article, you will learn the key measures to put in place before and during a pandemic.

What to do before a Pandemic

First of all, don’t panic. The sound of the word pandemic may be scary, but it doesn’t mean it cannot be contained. It is good to be prepared to avoid short notice rush.  Here are some things you could do before a pandemic occurs.

  • Make plans of what measures you will take in case your family members are affected.
  • Store up additional stock both foodstuff and health care prevention products
  • Stock up essential drugs as prescribed
  • Create easy access to details of your medical records and personal health

Health Care Plans to Consider During a Pandemic

When there is an outbreak in your community, you need to take measures to limit the spread of germs by practicing good hygiene. It will help prevent infection.  As much as you may want to avoid contact with the infected people, it would be best if you had practical measures. Below are the health care items that you will need.

Health Pandemic Supplies

Disinfectant Cleaners

Disinfectant Cleaners, Wipes, and Sprays

Disinfection is the use of chemicals to kill germs on surfaces.  It protects against infection during a pandemic, which lowers the risks of spreading the virus. It can be used at home, in the hospital, and even in a market place. 

You need to be patient when disinfecting surfaces because some disinfectants take time to penetrate the surface for effective results. The concentration and temperatures of the disinfectants are different, depending on the type you are using. You need to study the manufactures recommendations before using the chemicals carefully.

Protective Gloves

Protective Disposable Gloves vinyl nitrile latex medical exam food - harmonycr.com
Disposable Gloves in Latex, Nitrile, Vinyl, and Poly

You need to wear gloves during a pandemic to avoid contact with bodily fluids, blood, excretions, or contaminated surfaces. Your gloves need to be clean all the time. Change them after every task on every patient. You may change gloves more than two times on one patient, depending on how long the treatment takes. It is because some gloves may contain a high concentration of microorganisms.

Two major factors to consider when choosing gloves are; barrier protection and allergen content. Maximize its effectiveness by choosing reliable and experienced glove manufacture. You will be sure of the good quality of the gloves and constant availability.

Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning Supplies windex clorox simple green cleaners wipes - harmonycr.com
All-Purpose Cleaning Supplies and Wipes

Cleaning supplies help in the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities, which lowers the risk of spreading germs during a pandemic. There need to be practical routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces to avoid spread. Some of the cleaning supplies you need are;

  • All-purpose cleaners
  • Abrasive cleaners
  • Liquid detergents
  • Wipes

Face Masks

Disposable and reusable cotton face masks and face shields - harmonycr.com
Disposable Face Shields, Reusable Cotton Face Masks

Using face masks in public reduces the spread of infection. They minimize the excretion of respiratory droplets from infected people. Consider using face masks in congested places such as the market, public transport, etc.

Two types of face masks include, medical and non-medical. Prioritize the use of medical masks because it reduces the risks of transmission to zero, as compared to non-medical ones.

Disposable Gowns

Disposable Isolation Gowns

Gowns are used by hospital patients. They give easy access to the medical staff for the part of the body to be treated. Types of hospital gowns you need include;

  • Open Back gowns
  • Tie closure gowns
  •  IV gowns
  • Dignity Gowns
  • Snap closure
  • Disposable gowns

 Respirators

Dust Masks and Respirators

A respirator is a protective tool designed to protect people from inhaling hazardous air. The device covers the mouth and face, and in most cases, they cover the whole face of the entire head.  Types of respirators include;

  • Air purifying
  • Airline respirators
  • Hoods or helmets
  • Tight-fitting half masks
  • Breathing apparatus

A quote from Helene Munson says, “Behind the mask beats a loving heart, willing to save others.”

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Hearing Protection How To Safety Tips

Are you Wearing Enough Hearing Protection?

To comply with OSHA occupational noise exposure standards, companies are required to limit the amount of noise any one worker is exposed to on the job. For most applications, a single layer of hearing protection will be sufficient. However, double hearing protection may be necessary under certain conditions.

When is Double Hearing Protection Required?

The first step is to know the noise levels your employees encounter each day. Workplace noise measurements are dependent on the specifics of your workplace. Generally, an employee will wear a dosimeter during their shift. The dosimeter measures noise exposure and if you find workers are exposed to an average above 85 decibels (dB) over eight hours, then double hearing protection may be useful along with a required hearing conservation program.

When in an environment above 100 dB, OSHA rules encourage the use of double hearing protection. Some industry specific requirements have a lower standard, requiring double protection above 105 dBa, but OSHA’s guidelines are safest. To comply with all regulations, it best to provide double hearing protection when workplace noise levels exceed 100 dBa in an 8 hour weighted average.

Double Hearing Protection provides a 4 to 8 dB boost, on top of the normal parameters of the ear muffs, for example. Providing ear plugs with ear muffs can reduce noise an additional 85% which leads to a significant reduction in noise-related injuries. The most common form of double hearing protection is the use of ear plugs with ear muffs.

Do Your Workers Have Enough Hearing Protection?

For any noise reduction device (earplugs, ear muffs), a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is provided. Peltor Optime 105 Headband Ear Muffs, for example, have an NRR rating of 30.

To determine how NRR rating affect dB, take the NRR number subtract 7 and divide that number by 2.

In our example: (30 – 7) / 2 = 11.5

A worker wearing Peltor Ear Muffs with a 30 NRR will experience an 11.5 dBa reduction in noise. If your workers are exposed to 100 dBa, then with the earmuffs they will be exposed to 88.5 dBa.

If your workplace requires more, then double protection through 3M Classic Ear Plugs will provide an additional 5 dB of protection. By themselves, 3M earplugs have an NRR rating of 29, but when doubled with Peltor Ear Muffs, an additional 5 dB is added to the highest rating.

In a workplace with an 8 hour average of 100 dB, let us look at a worker wearing both 3M Ear Plugs and Peltor Ear Muffs:

Peltor Ear Muffs: 30 NRR

3M Ear Plugs: 29 NRR

Double Protection: +5 NRR

Total Protection: 35 NRR

Now, let’s calculate the dB reduction of our dual protected worker with 35 NRR.

dB reduction = (35 – 7) / 2 = 14

A worker in a setting with 100 dB with dual protection will now experience 86 dB over eight hours. This dual protection complies with OSHA’s regulations. Both you and your workers are protected.

Special Cases: When OSHA Requires More Protection

For most workspaces, noise must be below 90 dB over eight hours. However, if your worker experienced STS hearing loss, then more is necessary. To determine if your employee suffered a Standard Threshold Shift (STS), answer 3 questions:

  1. Has your employee suffered a 10dB loss in one or both ears?
  2. Is your employee’s overall hearing level at 25dB?
  3. Is your employees hearing loss work-related?
    1. Under OSHA Guidelines, hearing loss cases assume that the loss occurred at work. The burden of proof lies with employers to prove otherwise.
    2. Hearing loss aggravated by a work environment classifies as work-related hearing loss.

If you answered yes to each question above then more hearing protection is required for that employee. An additional 5 dB of protection will put you in compliance and protect your employees from further hearing loss. What Noise Exposure is Ideal?

Just as too little noise exposure is dangerous, so too is the opposite. Excessive noise reduction can cause accidents related to an inability to hear colleagues, alarms, and a general lack of awareness. If a worker needs to remove hearing protection to listen to their equipment or converse with a colleague, then hearing protection may be excessive.

Ideally, aim to reduce noise to bring exposure down to 75 – 85 dB. The CDC recommends that a single layer of ear protection be used for workplaces with noise levels below 100 dB. Above 100 dB, a dual protection layer may be required to reach the ideal workplace noise exposure.

Should You Use Ear Plugs or Ear Muffs?

The quirks of your workplace will determine which hearing protector is best. Only choose hearing protection that allows employees to wear them properly and comfortably for extended periods of time. Here are the main differences:

Ear Muffs

  • May interfere with other safety equipment (glasses, hard hat, respirator)
    • Low profile headbands are designed to prevent interference with hard hats
  • Easier to remove and replace
    • Best for intermittent noise exposure
  • Good for dirty environments
  • Uncomfortable in hot and excessively cold climates

Ear Plugs

  • Comfortable
  • Best for continuous noise exposure
  • Require clean hands to be inserted properly
  • Good for tight spaces
  • Good for extreme temperatures

Ear plugs are the choice of most employees. However, make sure to properly train them on how to insert ear plugs. Below you will find an image (from left to right) of a badly-inserted earplug, a semi-inserted earplug, and a properly-fit earplug.

If earplugs cannot be inserted properly, then earmuffs should be used.

In the End, It Does Really Matter

For most workspaces, a single layer of properly fitting ear muffs or ear plugs will be sufficient to reach the ideal 75-85 dB of noise exposure. Double hearing protection is recommended for employees working in noise levels above 100 dB over an eight hour period. Ear plugs and ear muffs are the most common form of dual protection, providing an additional 5 dB of protection.

Workplace noise levels only have to be re-evaluated when noise exposure increases beyond what your current protection allows. Annual training should include information on the types of protection provided, fit, and use.

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Safety Tips

Citizens Against Virtually Everything

Continuation of How to Improve Workplace Safety

Managers that lead safety training will encounter someone who opposes all efforts to increase safety. No matter how ready you are with OSHA’s Training Guidance, someone may stand in opposition towards your efforts to change.

Citizens Against Virtually Everything are people who oppose all change. It is your responsibility as a safety manager to be prepared and to respond to people in the CAVE.

The First Step with CAVE

Being proactive is the first step. As a manager, you should know who in your group will oppose change. Next, understand why they oppose the change so that you can prepare a response.

CAVE people think that top-down decision-making interferes with their autonomy. CAVE people feel that they do not have control over their actions, and instead of entering a dialogue, dig their heels in and resist all change.

It is important to express the direct effects that your changes will have on everyone. With a focus on CAVE, make sure to have answers to the questions below:

  • What is the desired outcome? Why?
  • How do things change?
  • When do things change?
  • What’s in it for me?

Although it is important to address the concerns of the CAVE specifically, most in your organization will be ambivalent. Be sure to answer these questions in relation to all stakeholders.

Listen to the CAVE

Many people feel that they have not been listened to at work. When it comes to safety, before bringing in a top-down approach, listen to your workers and find out what safety issues they deal with each day. Furthermore, by bringing in everyone in the conversation, it turns a passive employee into one actively engaged in their work environment. How could a CAVE person stand against a safety agenda they helped create?

To begin a discussion, ask them what they think causes workplace accidents. Generally, their answers will address human error and a lack of personal awareness. Their answers won’t include procedures and policies to address that error. As a safety manager, your focus is on policy, however, this approach alleviates the workers your policies are meant to keep safe. By first listening, you increase the chances of finding the protocol that workers circumvent and finding a way to close the safety gaps. Furthermore, because you involve your workers in the process, they will be more likely to respect your rules.

The Benefits of CAVE in your organization

A typical organization will be as follows:

20% Against Change (CAVE)

20% For Change

60% the Ambivalent to Change

The 20% against change will produce 80% of your headaches. It is imperative to separate the CAVE people who are critical to your organization from those that are not. Some CAVE people will have perspectives on problems that may motivate their decision to be against change. An organization needs to encourage constructive feedback from everyone, especially those who oppose it most vigorously. To do so effectively, it is best to begin a policy of CAVE UP.

CAVE UP

Your organization should offer opportunities for CAVE people to express their feedback upwards. Without any opportunity to give constructive feedback, CAVE people will only resent the change further, and do whatever they can to convert ambivalent employees into modicums of CAVE.

It is unprofessional for CAVE people to express their disdain for change downwards. This behavior undercuts the higher-ups. Unconstructive negativity are complaints that flow “down and out” whereas constructive negativity flows “up and in.”

If a managers says “this decision is from corporate” then it shows that you as the manager opposed the change. Your word choice shows the “down and out” negativity of CAVE. If you don’t support the decision, then why would your employees?

Always give the opportunity for everyone in your organization to provide constructive criticism in a safe environment. Managers should proactively be aware of reactions to change to ensure that everyone who has something to say has a forum to say it.

Listen to people in the cave respectfully, and ask “why is this idea bad?”

If you find that there are still CAVE people who oppose all change even with a CAVE UP policy, see the general guidelines below.

General Guidelines for CAVE People

When Nothing Else Works

Even if you address all the concerns of CAVE people, provide a forum for constructive criticism, and respond to that criticism, some CAVE people may still not be convinced. CAVE people may act out negatively to hide a skill-gap or use the workplace to vent personal issues. Be prepared for all eventualities.

What You Should Do:

  • Be clear about responsibilities
    • CAVE people may be complaining about something outside of their direct responsibilities. Remind them of their job.
  • Listen to concerns respectfully
    • Providing a forum for constructive feedback is not always enough. CAVE people may continue to vent in unconstructive ways.
  • Focus on specific behaviors
    • Do CAVE people take over meetings? Tell them.
  • Recognize their negativity may have nothing to do with you.
    • CAVE people may suffer from a lack of confidence at work and use their negativity to hide a skill-gap.
  • Incentivize behavior changes
    • Negotiate a performance linked plan to reinforce positive changes.
  • Consider Termination if behavior continues
    • Remember to document everything. Termination may be the only way to remove negativity.

What you should NOT do:

  • Allow CAVE people to run meetings
    • Giving them a forum to foment discontent will only fuel more negativity.
  • Be rude to CAVE people
    • Do not fight fire with fire. Maintain composure and you will earn the respect of others.
  • Isolate CAVE People
    • It is a good idea to speak with CAVE people in private to hear their constructive feedback and point of view.
    • However, isolating CAVE people in a meeting will only fuel their resentment.
  • Ignore their behavior
    • Do not expect their negativity to resolve on its own. Even if personal issues cause their negativity, do not allow their behavior to continue in the workplace.

If you only do one thing about people in the CAVE, do this.

Be clear with your expectations.

Negative behavior does not change a person’s responsibilities. Always focus on their behavior, and never lead with ad hominem attacks. In order to change behavior, the behavior needs to be addressed.

Conclusion

Everyone will meet people in the CAVE. For managers, it is crucial to know how to respond so as to not encourage others to enter the CAVE. The key is to give those in the CAVE a chance to change through a CAVE UP protocol and then incentive behavior changes after listening respectfully. In the end, someone may be unwilling to leave the CAVE and it is up to you to accept that and consider termination.