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Proactive PPE Safe Disposal during COVID-19

The role of healthcare staff has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, placing them as some of the highest risk for infection of the virus. While the medical community has gone above and beyond in attempts to protect everyone from the virus, the problem with COVID-19 has been that we are learning new things about it almost every week. Doctors, nurses, and employees have a problem with social distancing, as they need to be close to the patients for examination and diagnosis. This makes PPE (personal protection equipment) one of the highest priorities with a focus on safe disposal to avoid contamination. As the country makes attempts to return to work, healthcare workers must step up their game for safe disposal of PPE.

PPE (Personal Protection Equipment)

PPE is defined as protective gloves, face shields, clothing, surgical masks, helmets, googles, respirators, and all other equipment that has been designed for protection to the wearer to infection and illness exposure or injury. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) also defines PPE as “anything that works as a barrier between an individual’s skin, mouth, nose or eyes and viral and bacterial infections.”

Staff Training

While every medical organization typically takes pride in the training of their employees regarding PPE, a pandemic condition places a higher priority on ensuring that all staff members are aware of the volatility of COVID-19.  Additional reinforcement training on the handling and disposal of PPE can assist in keeping the dangers of the virus as a priority focus. Properly allocated containers for used PPE as well as storage for pickup or disposal should be available for staff members at all times.

COVID-19 PPE Safety and Disposal

Additional guidelines for PPE safety and disposal have been established in both federal and state levels for SARS-type viruses. Most states have not created any additional or enhanced changes to these guidelines, however, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is including the following in their recommendations:

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Parent page – Medical Waste Disposal


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