| FAQ - Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - 2015
Are people working in sterilization required to wear a PPE gown?
Regarding protective clothing, the 2003 CDC guidelines states as follows:
Protective clothing and equipment (e.g., gowns, lab coats, gloves, masks, and protective eyewear or face shield) should be worn to prevent contamination of street clothing and to protect the skin of DHCP from exposures to blood and body substances (2,7,10,11,13,137). OSHA bloodborne pathogens standard requires sleeves to be long enough to protect the forearms when the gown is worn as PPE (i.e., when spatter and spray of blood, saliva, or OPIM to the forearms is anticipated) (13,14). DHCP should change protective clothing when it becomes visibly soiled and as soon as feasible if penetrated by blood or other potentially infectious fluids (2,13,14,137). All protective clothing should be removed before leaving the work area (13). 1
Additionally, the CDC states as follows on its website:
When should protective clothing be worn?
Various types of protective clothing (e.g., gowns, jackets) are worn to prevent contamination of street clothing and to protect the skin of personnel from exposure to blood and body fluids. When the gown is worn as personal protective equipment (i.e., when spatter and spray of blood, saliva, or other potentially infectious material is anticipated), the sleeves should be long enough to protect the forearms. Protective clothing should be changed daily or sooner if visibly soiled. Personnel should remove protective clothing before leaving the work area. 2
In summary, if the procedure includes risk of contamination to street clothes and exposure of DHCP skin to blood and body fluids (including from spatter and spray [or splash], appropriate protective clothing should be used, as well as other appropriate PPE. Any questions pertaining to the operation of specific equipment should be directed to the manufacturer of that equipment.
1) Kohn WG, Collins AS, Cleveland JL, Harte JA, Eklund KJ, Malvitz DM, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guidelines for infection control in dental health-care settings—2003. MMWR Recomm Rep 2003;52(RR-17):1-61. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5217a1.htm Accessed on March 19, 2015.
2) US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Frequently Asked Questions - Personal Protective Equipment (Masks, Protective Eyewear, Protective Apparel, Gloves). http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol/faq/protective_equipment.htm Accessed on March 19, 2015.