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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Face Shield
Personal protective equipment, such as this face shield, protects employees from accidental exposure.

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. Which hazard control strategy is used in conjunction with other strategies to help to prevent skin contact with bloodborne pathogens?

a. Universal controls
b. Personal Protective Equipment
c. Substitution
d. Elimination

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First Aid
Regular work clothes do not protect.

Effective PPE

When engineering, work practice, and administrative controls are not feasible or do not provide sufficient protection, employers must provide effective personal protective equipment to their workers and ensure its proper use.

To be considered 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.

General work clothes, such as uniforms, pants, shirts, or blouses, which are not intended to function as a protective barrier against hazards, are not considered to be PPE.

2. Which of the following statements is TRUE about general work clothes?

a. OSHA will not cite if they are used as PPE
b. They may be approved as PPE by the employer
c. They may be adequate PPE if worn properly
d. They are not considered PPE

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Medical laundry
Antiseptic hand cleaners are only acceptable at worksites where soap and running water are not feasible.

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. This can increase the chance of accidental exposure to themselves and their family.

3. The employer must make PPE available to you _____.

a. if common sense requires it
b. at no cost
c. within 5 days of hire
d. at a reduced cost

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Disposable Gloves

Proper Disposable Glove Removal.

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.
  • 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
b. ripping them off
c. turning them inside out
d. pulling them off and spraying infectious material across the room

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Wear face shields, even if there is no chance of bloodborne pathogen exposure.

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.

Contaminated Protective Equipment

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

5. Place contaminated protective equipment in _____.

a. a garbage bag laying on the floor
b. a stainless steel garbage can with no garbage bag
c. a plastic basket designed to be reused
d. appropriately designed areas or labeled containers

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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 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.

6. When can an employee decline the use of personal protective equipment?

a. Only under rare circumstances
b. When authorized by OSHA
c. If the employer approves
d. Anytime as long as it makes sense

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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