The proper way to apply and remove PPE
Exposure to hazardous materials and contamination of food can lead to some serious health ramifications if personal protective equipment (PPE) is not used carefully – both during application and removal.
ProChoice Safety Gear product development manager Brad Rodgers explains that the purpose of the gear is to give workers a barrier between their skin and hazardous materials as well as receiving the required tools and training.
“A PCBU has a requirement to ensure staff are trained in the effective and safe selection, use, maintenance and disposal of PPE,” says Brad.
When speaking about the order of which the gear should be removed, Brad says that it depends on which items of PPE are exposed or affected but generally it’s gloves then coveralls, followed by goggles/safety glasses and then respiratory equipment. Hands must always be washed with alcohol-based hand sanitiser immediately after removing any of the gear.
If the PPE is a single use item, then it must be disposed of properly in line with the chemical manufacturer’s recommendations.
“If it is re-usable PPE, it should be cleaned and disinfected and then stored in a cool dry place where it can be accessed and re-used again,” Brad says.
“Incorrect doffing procedures can lead to hazardous materials exposure and also contamination of critical areas. This can have serious health ramifications as well.”
The entire procedure should also take place in a separate room or facility before the worker partakes in any of the tasks required.
Sequence for putting on PPE:
- Fully cover torso from neck to knees, arms to end of wrists, and wrap around the back.
- Fasten at the back of neck and waist
- Secure ties or elastic bands at middle of head and neck
- Fit flexible band to nose bridge
- Fit snug to face and below chin
- Fit-check respirator
- Place over face and eyes and adjust to fit
- Extend to cover wrist of isolation gown
Always use safe work practices:
- Keep hands away from face
- Limit surfaces touched
- Change gloves when torn or heavily contaminated
- Perform hand hygiene
Process for removing:
Perform hand hygiene between steps if hands become contaminated and immediately after removing all PPE.
Gloves and gown
- Your gown front, sleeves and the outside of gloves are contaminated!
- If your hands get contaminated during gown or glove removal, immediately wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Grasp the gown in the front and pull away from your body so that the ties break, touching outside of gown only with gloved hands.
- While removing the gown, fold or roll the gown inside-out into a bundle.
- As you are removing the gown, peel off your gloves at the same time, only touching the inside of the gloves and gown with your bare hands. Place the gown and gloves into a waste container
- Outside of goggles or face shield are contaminated!
- If your hands get contaminated during goggle or face shield removal, immediately wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Remove goggles or face shield from the back by lifting head band and without touching the front of the goggles or face shield
- If the item is reusable, place in designated receptacle for reprocessing. Otherwise, discard in a waste container
- Front of mask/respirator is contaminated — DO NOT TOUCH!
- If your hands get contaminated during mask/respirator removal, immediately wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Grasp bottom ties or elastics of the mask/respirator, then the ones at the top, and remove without touching the front
- Discard in a waste container
For more information on the procedure and PPE, please visit www.prochoice.com.au