Use personal protective equipment


Wear personal protective clothing and equipment that complies with Australian/New Zealand Standards, and is appropriate for the intended use


Note: This is the same information that is found in HLTIN301A Comply with infection control policies and procedures in health work, topic 4: Use personal protective equipment. If you have already read and understood this information, continue onto the next topic. Or you might like to revise this topic.

Wear personal protective clothing and equipment that complies with Australian/New Zealand Standards, and is appropriate for the intended use

Australian/New Zealand Standards™ (AS/NZS) is a registered trademark.

They are published in Australia by:

Standards Australia
Head Office
Level 10/20 Bridge Street

One standard of interest is: HB 9-1994: Occupational personal protection Second edition 1994.

You can read about this standard at:

Personal protection is a major step in the prevention of cross infection. The wearing of masks, eye protection, gloves, aprons and shoes is routine while working. These barriers in the prevention of the transmission of micro-organisms are very important.

Photo of person wearing face shield, uniform, apron, gloves

PPE equipment

Personal protective items

Masks or face shields

Masks and eye wear or face shields protect the operator and the assistant from airborne micro-organisms and any potential splatter of body fluids. The nose, mouth and eyes are a potential portal of entry for micro-organisms.

Where face shields are worn, masks should also be worn.

Staff should wear masks where there may be the likelihood of splashing or spraying of blood or other body fluids:

Masks/shields should be changed when they become wet. In situations where a heavy aerosol is generated, masks/shields may need to be changed during the course of the treatment. Changing the mask/shield between patients also prevents a potential route of cross-infection if the gloved hand accidentally touches a contaminated face mask/shield.

Protective eye wear

Protective eyewear should be worn when there is the potential for splashing, splattering or spraying of blood and other body substances. Protective eye wear should also be worn when any cleaning procedure is to be undertaken.

Protective eyewear should provide clear vision and be distortion and fog free. They should be close fitting and be shielded at the sides. Eyewear should be re-usable after cleaning or be single use.

Patients should be offered protective eye wear. Should a patient refuse to do this, the potential risk is to be explained and documented in the patient's notes.


Drawing of gloves



Gloves are worn as a barrier. They protect you from contamination and protect others from the transfer of any micro-organisms already on your hands. Gloves are to be worn whenever you undertake a procedure that may potentially expose you to blood or body substances (except sweat).

Gloves are single use items and must not be reused.

Gloves should be replaced as soon as possible if damaged, punctured, or torn.

No attempt should be made to wash, rinse, or re-use gloves.

NOTE: Gloves are not a substitute for hand washing! Hands should be washed before and after using gloves.

Gloves come in a variety of sizes and may be made of latex, neoprene, or vinyl. While most manufacturers are producing powder free gloves, some gloves are pre-packed with a light inner-coating of powder to assist in the gloving process. Many workplaces will provide a selection of gloves for different purposes and it is essential that you become familiar with the type of gloves you are required to wear for specific procedures.

Non-sterile gloves — used for any procedure where there is a risk of hands being exposed to blood or other body fluid, or come in contact with mucous membranes.

Sterile gloves — used for procedures requiring a sterile field

General purpose utility gloves — for cleaning of instruments prior to sterilisation or disinfection, or for general cleaning procedures.

Note – Latex allergy

A large range of equipment used in the community services and health industries contains latex, including some (but not all) types of gloves. Due to the increasing prevalence of latex allergy in the community, it is recommended that non-latex and powder-free gloves should be used where possible. If you develop any symptoms of latex allergy you should avoid any further contact with latex-based products, notify your supervisor and seek consultation with your family doctor or a physician who specialises in latex allergy.

For more information see the NSW Health Department publication Latex Allergy — Policy Framework and Guidelines for Prevention and Management , doc no. PD2005_490, 25 February 2005 at:

Gloves are to be worn when handling sterile instruments. Clinic gloves must NEVER be worn to clean contaminated instruments.

Gloves used in general work must never be worn:

Heavy duty cleaning gloves should be used when cleaning and handling instruments. Cleaning gloves are thick rubber gloves for maximum protection. These gloves should be washed thoroughly with detergent after use and stored dry. They should be replaced if torn, cracked or showing signs of deterioration.

Nails are to be clean and should be kept to an acceptable length to prevent the gloves being damaged.

Gloves should be removed carefully to avoid contamination of hands or other surfaces.

To take gloves off properly

  1. Do not touch the outside of the gloves with your hands.
  2. Gently pull off one glove by the fingers using your other gloved hand.
  3. Slide the fingers of your now bare hand under the wrist of the other glove.
  4. This will push off the second glove without touching the outside surface.
  5. Dispose of immediately.

Practise taking off gloves until you can do it easily.

Each centre will have differing nappy changing equipment but gloves must always be provided. Most centres use disposable nappies. Although not environmentally friendly, they are thought to decrease the infection rate. Some centres will use cloth nappies but they must be used plastic pilchers on top to prevent infection spread.

Uniforms and outer protective clothing

Uniforms should be comfortable and suitable for the type of procedures being carried out in your workplace. Gowns or aprons prevent clothes and the skin coming into contact with body fluids.

For clinical practice, regardless of what is personally worn (street clothes/uniform), outer protective clothing should be worn when undertaking procedures that involve the likelihood of body fluid contamination. The outer protective garment should be fluid resistant.

The use of these types of barriers prevents transmission of disease via direct contact.

Change protective clothing and gowns/aprons daily, more frequently if soiled and where appropriate, after each client contact.


Shoes must cover the entire foot, this protects any area of the foot being damaged by falling instruments or any type of spill.

Change protective clothing and gowns/aprons daily, more frequently if soiled and where appropriate, after each client contact.


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