Personal Protective Equipment Considerations
The interim guidance for specific worker groups and their employers includes recommended PPE ensembles for various types of activities that workers will perform. In general:
- PPE should be selected based on the results of an employer's hazard assessment and workers specific job duties.
When disposable gloves are used, workers should typically use a single pair of nitrile exam gloves. Change gloves if they become torn or visibly contaminated with blood or body fluids.
- When eye protection is needed, use goggles or face shields. Personal eyeglasses are not considered adequate eye protection.
If workers need respirators, they must be used in the context of a comprehensive respiratory protection program that meets the requirements of OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134) and includes medical exams, fit testing, and training.
- Surgical masks are not respirators and do not provide the same level of protection to workers as properly-fitted respirators.
If there are shortages of PPE items, such as respirators or gowns, they should be prioritized for high-hazard activities.
- Workers need respiratory protection when performing or while present for aerosol-generating procedures, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and intubation.
- Workers must be protected against exposure to human blood, body fluids, other potentially infectious materials, and hazardous chemicals, and contaminated environmental surfaces.
- CDC provides strategies for optimizing the supply of PPE, including guidance on extended use and limited reuse of N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) and methods for decontaminating and reusing disposable filtering facepiece respirators during crises.
- These guidelines are intended for use in healthcare but may help employers in other sectors optimize their PPE supplies, as well.
After removing PPE, always wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, if available. Ensure that hand hygiene facilities (e.g., sink or alcohol-based hand rub) are readily available at the point of use (e.g., at or adjacent to the PPE removal area).
- Employers should establish, and ensure workers follow, standard operating procedures for cleaning (including laundering) PPE and items such as uniforms or laboratory coats intended to function as PPE, as well as for maintaining, storing, and disposing of PPE. When PPE is contaminated with human blood, body fluids, or other potentially infectious materials, employers must follow applicable requirements of the Bloodborne Pathogens standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) with respect to laundering. OSHA’s Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens (CPL 02-02-069) provide additional information.