Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – What is It?

PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment.  PPE protects people against health or safety hazards. It can include items such as helmets, masks, gloves, eye protection, goggles, face shields, respirators, and shoe covers. PPE can protect you from transmission of germs and infection through contact. PPE provides a barrier between you and germs. The barrier that PPE provides can greatly reduce the chance of touching, being exposed to, and/or spreading germs or disease. For individuals that work in the healthcare industry, PPE can protect healthcare employees from infections and diseases like Coronavirus (COVID-19) that they may be exposed to while at work.

Protecting your hands, through proper hand washing and wearing gloves, is a great way to use PPE to protect yourself from germs. Taking off your gloves correctly can also help reduce any exposure you may come into contact to. When removing your safety gloves, do not pull off from your fingertips like you would a winter glove.  A safety glove must be taken off starting at the wrist and pulling downward so that whatever contaminants that are on the outside stay away from your skin. The glove will appear to be inside out if you take it off properly.  This not only protects yourself, but your co-workers as well or anyone else that may come into contact with your personal protective equipment.

Eye protection can include safety goggles or face shields to protect the mucous membranes in your eyes from bodily fluids and germs.  Germs can enter the body more easily through any mucous membrane. This is why it is important to not touch your face when you have to wear PPE. 

Protective clothing such as gowns, aprons, head coverings, and shoe coverings can help protect your clothing from exposure to dangerous hazards such as airborne pathogens, blood pathogens, and bacteria.  Wearing protective clothing can help reduce your risk of infection and other respiratory illnesses from exposure to certain germs and bacteria. If you feel that you may be at risk for exposure from a pathogen, be sure to wear your PPE, to limit your risk of germs and infection.  

Always keep in mind that your PPE will only keep you safe when used properly. Learn more about proper PPE wear and usage by checking out MyCPR NOW’s  Bloodborne Pathogens Certification. Stay safe, stay healthy!

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