PPE is the personal protective equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks.
What is PPE?
PPE can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, hazmat suits, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear, safety harnesses, ear plugs, ear defenders and respiratory protective equipment (RPE). In appropriate situations disposable PPE may be provided; eg single-use coveralls. Employers have duties concerning the provision and use of personal protective equipment at work.
WHO releases technical specifications of PPE for COVID-19
This includes WHO Priority Medical Devices, specifically: surgical masks, non-surgical masks, gloves, googles, face shields, gowns and N95 masks. It is intended for procurement agencies, occupational health departments, infection prevention and control departments or focal points, health facility administrators, biomedical and materials engineering, PPE manufacturers and public health authorities at both national and facility levels.
The technical specifications define the minimum requirements for the product to ensure good quality, safety and efficacy. The methods used to develop the technical specifications involved review of the infection prevention and control (IPC) COVID-19 guidelines, review of PPE products available in the market, and PPE products approved by stringent regulatory agencies, and analysis of international, regional and country standards on PPE. The four COVID-19 guidelines analysed were:
- Rational use of personal protective equipment for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and considerations during severe shortage;
- Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19 – in the community, during home care, and in health care settings;
- COVID-19 advice for the public: when and how to use masks;
- Analysis of the PPE required to perform the clinical management of COVID-19 patients (5), and the Disease commodity package for novel coronavirus.