PPE is worn to minimize exposure to a variety of hazards, including HIV and other bloodborne pathogens (BBP). In the laboratory, the use of PPE is often essential. For the most part, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers it to be the last line of defense, when engineering and work practice controls do not provide sufficient protection.
PPE must be readily accessible and remain in the laboratory. Workers must not home-launder laboratory coats.
The type of PPE that should be used is dependent upon the task to be performed. Further considerations include the type of exposure and the quantity of infectious materials reasonably anticipated to be encountered during the performance of procedures.
Some examples of PPE that are appropriate for procedures that involve exposure to blood and other infectious materials include:
- Lab coats
- Gloves-- protect nonintact skin
- Full face shields-- protect eyes and mucous membranes from splashes and sprays