Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

First aid using gloves

Using Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is specialized clothing or equipment that protects you from exposure to blood or other potentially infectious material.

Personal protective equipment is designed to keep blood and other potentially infectious material away from your skin, eyes, and mouth.

Examples of PPE include: disposable gloves, gowns, laboratory coats, protective face shields, resuscitation masks or shields, and mouth pieces. Any equipment necessary to prevent exposure to blood or other potentially infectious material is considered PPE.

1. How does PPE protect you from exposure with blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM)?

a. Eliminates the source of exposure
b. Absorbs the infectious material
c. Keeps infectious away from skin, eyes, and mouth
d. Protects by increasing distance

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Worker wearing scrubs and putting on gloves
General clothing is not considered PPE.

Effective PPE

Effective personal protective equipment must not allow potentially infectious materials to pass through or reach your skin, eyes, mouth, or clothes under normal conditions of use.

The following items that are not intended to function as a protective barrier against hazards are not considered to be PPE:

  • General work clothes
  • uniforms
  • pants
  • shirts, or blouses

2. Which of the following is NOT an acceptable form of PPE?

a. Laboratory coats
b. Uniforms
c. Face shields
d. Face masks

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Worker wearing scrubs and putting on gloves

Employer responsibilities

An employer must ensure employees use appropriate personal protective equipment.

Your employer must make PPE available to you in the appropriate size and at no cost. Non-latex alternatives will also be made available to employees who have allergic sensitivity to latex. Employers must also properly clean, launder, repair, replace, or dispose of contaminated PPE as needed at no cost to the employee.

Employees should never take contaminated clothing home to be washed.

3. When should employees take home contaminated clothing to be washed?

a. Never
b. Daily
c. If exposure occurs
d. As needed

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Worker wearing disposable gloves while cleaning up blood
Wear disposable gloves even if no blood is visible.

Disposable Gloves

Disposable gloves should be a standard component of emergency response and first aid equipment and should be worn by anyone initiating emergency care.

It is best to always wear disposable gloves when providing first aid care.

Replace your gloves as soon as possible if they are torn, punctured, contaminated, or if their ability to function as a barrier is compromised.

Contaminated Protective Equipment

Remove contaminated gloves by turning them inside out. Be careful to prevent any splashing or spraying of potentially infectious material. You should always wash your hands after removing your gloves, even if you don't think they were contaminated.

4. Remove contaminated gloves by _____.

a. cutting them off with scissors
b. pulling them off fingers first
c. turning them inside out
d. having a coworker remove them

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Dental worker wearing a face shield
Wear a face shield if there is a chance of blood spray, splash, or splatter.

Face Shields

Wear face shields when splashes, sprays, spatters, or droplets of infectious material pose a hazard to your eyes, nose, or mouth. It is always better to be prepared and wear a face shield if there is any chance of potential exposure to your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Pocket CPR Mask and Gloves

Use a disposable ventilation mask or shield with a one-way valve to prevent an exposure when performing rescue ventilations during CPR. It is common for patients to vomit during CPR due to excess air in the stomach.

Place contaminated protective equipment in appropriately designed areas or containers for cleaning or disposal. These areas or containers should be properly labeled as such and identified in your employer's exposure control plan.

5. When performing CPR, it is best to do each of the following EXCEPT _____.

a. wearing disposable gloves
b. using two-way valves
c. being prepared for patient to vomit
d. using a mask or shield

Check your Work

Read the material in each section to find the correct answer to each quiz question. After answering all the questions, click on the "Check Quiz Answers" button to grade your quiz and see your score. You will receive a message if you forgot to answer one of the questions. After clicking the button, the questions you missed will be listed below. You can correct any missed questions and check your answers again.

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Sarah is a medical laboratory technician. As part of her job duties she analyzes blood and body fluid samples. Sarah was recently reprimanded for not wearing disposable gloves to perform her work duties. She tells her supervisor the gloves make it hard for her to handle the collection containers and that she would prefer not to wear gloves.

What should Sarah's supervisor tell her?

Supervisor Response

Sarah's supervisor must tell her the use of personal protective equipment is not optional. She must wear the gloves. The supervisor should also ask Sarah if the gloves are the correct size and fit for her hands. If the gloves are not the correct size, then this issue must be resolved as well. Only under very rare circumstances can an employee decline the use of personal protective equipment.

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