A guide to donning and doffing PPE for business leaders

Image of woman donning and doffing ppe

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, many industries never needed to concern themselves with ppe. However, over the past year, they’ve had to quickly adapt and integrate PPE into their daily operations to operate legally. 

If you fall into the camp of business owners or managers described above, you’ve likely felt overwhelmed by the jargon, certifications and regulations you need to consider when implementing PPE practices.

To help demystify some of the complexity, we’ve created a selection of helpful articles about various topics related to PPE. You can access these below:

In this article, we’ll shed light on a phrase you’ve likely heard before: “donning and doffing ppe”. We’ll explain what it means and how to do it correctly.

What do we mean by donning and doffing ppe?

Despite the confusing name, “donning and doffing ppe” simply means the correct procedure for putting on (donning) and taking off (doffing) ppe.

It’s important to note here that it doesn’t strictly mean to take on or off, but instead to do so carefully while following a procedure that ensures you minimise the risk of contamination.

Correctly donning ppe

The first step when donning any ppe is to sanitise the hands and remove any jewellery or wearables like watches and bracelets. Following this procedure reduces the risk of transferring bacteria or germs to your ppe. If bacteria or germs spread to your ppe before putting it on, it could cause contamination and render it less effective.

Once they have completed this step, it is then safe for your staff to don any ppe they may need for their role. For most businesses, this will only involve putting a face mask on. 

You should consider educating your team on the best practices for wearing masks. Face masks are less effective when worn incorrectly, potentially resulting in an increased risk of spreading infection.

For more information, check out our guide to wearing face masks correctly here.

For any additional PPE your team needs, make sure to follow the supplied donning instructions. 

Correctly doffing ppe

As with donning ppe, the key to effective ppe doffing is hand hygiene. If your staff are only wearing face masks, they’ll only need to wash their hands once after the mask has been removed and binned.

Keep in mind that most ppe is single-use and should be thrown away immediately after use. If you’re unsure whether your ppe is reusable, use our guide to reusable ppe for reference. 

If your staff members are wearing multiple ppe items, they’ll need to sanitise their hands after removing each item of ppe. For example, they might first remove and dispose of their nitrile gloves, wash or sanitise their hands, then remove and dispose of their mask, then rewash or sanitise their hands. 

The steps listed above are necessary as the outside of ppe items could potentially carry harmful bacteria. If a team member takes off and disposes of their gloves and next accidentally touches their face or body before sanitising their hands, they increase the risk of spreading infection.

For more information on donning and doffing ppe, visit the government guidelines using this link.

For more information on Covid ppe guidelines for your industry, visit this link.

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