Essential PPE equipment for medical workers in the age of Covid-19

27/05/20

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is designed to protect the user from unnecessary health and safety risks. Depending on circumstances and work environment, it can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear, safety harnesses and respiratory protection equipment (RPE). 

In the hierarchy of risk control, PPE is considered a last resort. It is only considered appropriate when a hazard cannot be removed or controlled in a way that will minimise the risk of harm.

PPE in the age of Covid-19

With the outbreak of Covid-19, the guidance around the use of PPE has been revised. Coronaviruses are transmitted in most instances through large respiratory droplets and contact transmission, but other modes of transmission (i.e. airborne and faeco-oral) have also been proposed.

The average incubation period is estimated at 5 to 6 days, ranging from 0 to 14 days . As of this writing, there is currently no specific treatment or vaccine against COVID-19.

Below are the minimum PPE requirements for protecting against contact, droplet and airborne transmission:

  • Hand protection - Gloves should be used when managing suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.

  • Body protection - Long-sleeved water-resistant aprons should be used to prevent body contamination. This PPE item does not need to be sterile unless it is used in a sterile environment.

  • Eye protection - Goggles, or face shields should be used to prevent virus exposure of the eye mucosa. Goggles also need to fit the user’s facial features and have to be compatible with the respirator below.

  • Respiratory protection - A respirator protects from the inhalation of droplets and particles. Tight-fitting respirators (such as disposable FFP3 masks and reusable half masks) rely on having a good seal with the wearer’s face. A face fit test should be carried out to ensure the respiratory protective equipment (RPE) can protect the wearer. For detailed information on putting on respirators and fit checking, use this video here.

More information on the main changes regarding the use of PPE can be found here.

How to put on PPE and take it off

Before putting on PPE, perform hand hygiene. Use alcohol hand-rub, gel or soap and water. Make sure you are hydrated and are not wearing any jewellery, bracelets, watches or stoned rings.

Putting on PPE:

  1. Put on your plastic apron, making sure it is tied securely at the back.

  2. Put on your surgical face mask. If tied, make sure it is securely tied at the crown and nape of neck. Once it covers the nose make sure it is extended to cover your mouth and chin.

  3. Put on your eye protection if there is a risk of splashing. 

  4. Put on non-sterile nitrile gloves.

  5. You are now ready to perform your work.

Taking off PPE:

  1. Remove gloves, grasp the outside of the cuff of the glove and peel off. Holding the glove in the gloved hand, insert the finger underneath and peel off the second glove.

  2. Perform hand hygiene using alcohol hand gel or rub, or soap and water.

  3. Snap or unfasten apron ties at the neck and allow it to fall forward.

  4. Once outside the patient room. Remove eye protection.

  5. Remove surgical mask.

  6. Now wash your hands with soap and water.

More information on putting on and removing PPE equipment safely in a variety of scenarios can be found here.

For more information on our range of PPE products, contact the Aero team today.


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