When Should You Use PPE?

Working in healthcare puts medical professionals at risk of infection daily. Medical staff should take the utmost care when protecting themselves and others from potentially infectious materials. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is crucial to the prevention and control of infection in the healthcare industry. Employees should be knowledgeable on the best ways to protect themselves.

What is Personal Protective Equipment?Medical Waste Pros knows when to use ppe

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is protective clothing and equipment that minimizes exposure to and risk from infectious materials. In healthcare, PPE is used to create a barrier between the worker and any potentially hazardous material.

PPE improves staff and patient safety, prevents the spread of germs, and helps manage infection control. Here are some examples of PPE used in the healthcare setting:

  • Goggles: Protect eyes
  • Face shields: Protect face, eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Hair covers and hoods: Protect hair, head, and neck
  • Masks and respirators: Protect mouth, nose, and respiratory tract
  • Gowns and aprons: Protect skin and clothing
  • Gloves: Protect hands
  • Leg and shoe covers: Protect skin, clothing, and shoes

Selecting the appropriate PPE is an important part of protecting yourself from blood, bodily fluids, and other potentially infectious materials (OPIMs). Workers must anticipate the type of hazard they will encounter and choose accordingly.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be well maintained and used properly. Employers must provide PPE that is clean, reliable, and appropriately sized. Employers are also required to train workers on the use of PPE by OSHA standards.

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CDC and Standard Precautions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends when PPE should be worn through Standard Precautions and Expanded Isolation Precautions.

Standard Precautions (SP) are practices that protect against infection and are designed for the safety of staff and patients. Workers are to treat all blood and bodily fluids as if they were infected and take the appropriate precautions by using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Here are some examples of using PPE for Standard Precautions:

  • Gloves: Use when touching blood, bodily fluids, mucus membranes, and contaminated items
  • Gowns and aprons: Use when contact of skin and clothing is expected with a patient, blood, or bodily fluids
  • Mask, goggles, or face shield: Use when there is a likelihood of blood or bodily fluids spraying or splashing

OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also proposes safety standards to manage and minimize risk. OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard requires employers to follow an exposure control plan (ECP), use PPE properly, prepare for the safe handling of sharps, provide a hepatitis B vaccine for those at risk, and follow up with a post-exposure plan.

Employers must also provide annual bloodborne pathogens training for all employees who will potentially be exposed to infectious materials. The training will teach employees how to handle bloodborne pathogens and when and how to use PPE.

Protect Yourself and Your Business With Safe Medical Waste Disposal Practices Today

Medical Waste Pros has a comprehensive network of compliant medical waste disposal providers to ensure you are compliant with OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard. Feel confident in the safety of your employees and patients with training from our professional partners.

For free, no-obligation quotes on medical waste disposal services, fill out the form and just give us a call at 888-755-6370. We will provide quotes on bloodborne pathogen training in your area within minutes.