Today's News / Environmental and Occupational Health / PPE
NIOSH Science Blog

How well do you think you are protected?

Understanding proper use and disposal of protective gowns for healthcare workers

surgeryA NIOSH Science Blog post:

The prevalence of infectious diseases, such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, SARS and avian flu, have raised the concern of hospital personnel over the possibility of acquiring such infections. Healthcare workers (HCWs) in or outside hospitals who have contact with patients, body fluids, or specimens may easily acquire infections from or transmit infections to patients, other personnel, or loved ones. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a critical component in the hierarchy of controls used to protect HCWs from infectious hazards. HCW PPE may include gowns, respirators, face masks, gloves, eye protection, face shields, and head and shoe coverings. Even though protective ensembles are worn to protect hospital workers and patients alike, if not used or disposed of correctly, this equipment may pose a considerable risk for the public health. Although laboratory studies have produced mixed results for the effectiveness of gown use, appropriate gowns are recommended to prevent or reduce HCW exposure to bloodborne pathogens. However, those using the gowns may have limited information on the performance of the gowns they wear every day.

 Protecting Healthcare Workers

Healthcare is the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy, employing over 18 million workers. An estimated 17-57 employed HCWs per million die annually from occupational infections and injuries and 9-42 HCWs per million die per year exclusively from occupational infections (Sepkowitz and Eisenberg 2005). Because of this risk of exposure to infectious diseases, in 1991 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandated the use of universal precautions during treatment of all patients in order to minimize HCWs’ risks of acquiring bloodborne pathogens (Department of Labor, 1991). This rule requires over five million HCWs to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and employers to provide HCWs with the appropriate PPE such as gowns, eye protection, masks, face shields, and gloves. PPE is now a critical component of isolation precautions and is used widely in healthcare facilities as part of the strategy to minimize passage of pathogenic microbes to patients and exposure of HCWs and visitors to infectious agents, especially bloodborne pathogens.

In addition to the Bloodborne Pathogens Rule published by OSHA, organizations such as the CDC have promoted guidelines for HCW protection, recommending vaccination, early patient screening, isolation precautions, and the use of PPE.

Transmission of Microorganisms

Transmission of infectious agents in healthcare settings requires three elements: a source of infectious agents, a susceptible host with a portal of entry receptive to the agent, and a mode of transmission for the agent. Sources of infectious agents in the hospital include...click here to read the rest of the post, which includes information on:

  • Protective Clothing in Healthcare Settings, and
     
  • Guidelines and Standards for Protective Clothing in Healthcare

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

ASSE Safety 2014 Review

A gallery of photos from the sprawling Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, where ASSE’s annual professional development conference was held June 8-11. All photos courtesy of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

9/9/14 2:00 pm EDT

Welding: It doesn't have to be a grind. The latest in respiratory protection and PPE for welders and grinder

Attendees of this webinar will gain knowledge of hazards and appropriate PPE for welding applications, regulatory drivers that are changing the landscape of PPE within welding applications and the latest product technologies being offered in welding PPE.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN_0814cov.jpg

2014 August

Check out ISHN's August issue which features content about pain prevention, forklift operation safety and a preview of the National Safety Congress and Expo.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - May 2014

ISHN0514FDO_cover.jpgFor Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THEMAY 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.