Personal Protective Equipment

Procedures/Sequence for safely donning (applying) and doffing (removing) PPE

Incorrect procedures for donning or doffing personal protective equipment (PPE) can cause exposure to hazardous materials and contamination of food or other critical areas, leading to serious health ramifications.

Product Development Manager of ProChoice Safety Gear, Brad Rodgers said that the key concern is creating a barrier between wearers’ skin and contaminants, pathogens or other hazardous materials, and that workers must be given the necessary tools and training.

“A PCBU has a requirement to ensure staff are trained in the effective and safe selection, use, maintenance and disposal of PPE,” Rodgers said.

He described medical and food services, manufacturing, and cleanroom industries as those where donning and doffing procedures are most important and said that while both are important, the process of doffing (removing) PPE is more critical than the process of donning (putting on).

Speaking of the order in which PPE should be removed, Rodgers said it depends on what items of PPE are exposed or affected, but generally it will be gloves and coveralls (being careful not to touch affected areas), goggles/safety glasses then respiratory protective equipment.

Immediately after donning or removing PPE, the hands should be washed using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, he said.

If the PPE is single use, Rodgers said it should be disposed of. If it has been used to handle chemicals, the PPE should be disposed of in accordance with the chemical manufacturer’s recommendations.

“If it is re-usable PPE, it should be cleaned and disinfected and then stored in a cool dry place where it can be accessed and re-used again,” Rodgers said.

Incorrect doffing procedures can lead to hazardous materials exposure (touching the outside of the glove) and also contamination of critical areas (doffing the glove whilst still in contact or near clean areas), Rodgers added.

“This can have serious health ramifications,” he said.

The process for donning PPE is also important, however not as critical as the process for doffing, according to Rodgers. He said gloves should be put on last, after donning coveralls, respiratory protective equipment, goggles and other PPE.

Donning PPE should also generally occur in a separate room or facility before a worker is exposed to the task environment, according to Rodgers.

Further details of the PPE donning and doffing procedures are outlined below:

Sequence for donning (putting on) PPE (Source: CDC)

PPE donning process

Coveralls/ Gown

• Fully cover torso from neck to knees, arms to end of wrists, and wrap around the back.

• Fasten at the back of neck and waist

Mask/Respirator

• Secure ties or elastic bands at middle of head and neck

•Fit flexible band to nose bridge

•Fit snug to face and below chin

•Fit-check respirator

Goggles/Specs/Face shield

• Place over face and eyes and adjust to fit

Gloves

• Extend to cover wrist of isolation gown

Always use safe work practices:

  • Keep hands away from face
  • Limit surfaces touched
  • Change gloves when torn or heavily contaminated
  • Perform hand hygiene

Process for doffing (removing) PPE (Source: CDC)

PPE doffing process

Gloves and gown

• Your gown front, sleeves and the outside of gloves are contaminated!

• If your hands get contaminated during gown or glove removal, immediately wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

• Grasp the gown in the front and pull away from your body so that the ties break, touching outside of gown only with gloved hands.

• While removing the gown, fold or roll the gown inside-out into a bundle.

• As you are removing the gown, peel off your gloves at the same time, only touching the inside of the gloves and gown with your bare hands. Place the gown and gloves into a waste container

Goggles/face shield

• Outside of goggles or face shield are contaminated!

• If your hands get contaminated during goggle or face shield removal,

immediately wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

• Remove goggles or face shield from the back by lifting head band and without touching the front of the goggles or face shield

• If the item is reusable, place in designated receptacle for reprocessing. Otherwise, discard in a waste container

Mask/respirator

• Front of mask/respirator is contaminated — DO NOT TOUCH!

• If your hands get contaminated during mask/respirator removal, immediately wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

• Grasp bottom ties or elastics of the mask/respirator, then the ones at

the top, and remove without touching the front

• Discard in a waste container

Wash hands and ensure there is no leftover contamination

Perform hand hygiene between steps if hands become contaminated and immediately after removing all PPE