Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is the last line of defence in the control hierarchy of biological agents exposure.
Face or eye protection such as goggles or face shields should be considered where there is a risk of eye or mucosal contamination by splashes and droplets.
Where there is a risk of exposure to potentially infectious material, disposable gloves should be worn and such gloves should be CE marked for use with biological agents e.g. depending on risk assessment EN374-2 Level 2 or 3. It should be noted that gloves certified to EN455 (Medical Gloves for Single Use) are predominately used for patient protection and other medical applications and are not certified for personal protection.
Where there is a risk of respiratory exposure due to aerosols, work should be carried out in a biological safety cabinet. If respiratory protection (i.e. a respirator) is required it should be based on a risk assessment taking account of the bio-aerosol particle size, the airborne agent concentration and the type of biological agent. It should be noted that surgical face masks are not respirators. Surgical face masks are designed to protect others from airborne droplets that the mask wearer may produce. They do not seal tightly to the face and are not designed to filter particulates from the air breathed in.