Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE is Personal Protective Equipment, which is used to protect the wearer and can include such things as medical masks, N95 respirators, gloves and gowns. PPE is intended to protect the wearer from others. Conversely, cloth or non-medical masks are face coverings worn for source control and are not PPE. Cloth or non-medical masks are used for source control to protect others from the wearer. For a full list of products and services, visit the government of Ontario’s Workplace PPE Supplier Directory.

According to the Government of Ontario, medical masks (surgical, medical procedure face masks and respirators like N95 masks) should be reserved for use by health care workers and first responders. Thus, most people in a theatre setting will be wearing a non-medical masks or face coverings.

The need for PPE must be based on a workplace-specific risk assessment that examines both the type of work being conducted and the controls implemented in the venue, and include the following considerations:

  • How PPE with be used (including donning and doffing)
  • Frequency for changing or replacing PPE
  • The reuse, cleaning and disposal of PPE including masks, disposable gloves (or gloves that can be appropriately disinfected), face shields, etc.
  • Protocols for the use of both medical and non-medical masks should consider the types available and the different functions and considerations for the use of such masks
  • Ensure workers are appropriately trained on these protocols
  • Consider providing separate bins for the disposal of PPE and the necessary locations for disposal receptacles (e.g. at all exits and entrances)

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