Personal protective equipment

Find guidance, training and resources for using personal protective equipment (PPE) in response to COVID-19 in NSW.


Last updated 18 November 2020

Guidance

The safety of NSW Health staff is a priority at all times, especially during COVID-19.

When staff are directed to work with patients who are COVID-19 positive or COVID-19 symptomatic the CEC guidelines prescribe the safe working practices required using PPE (e.g. face shields/masks or other equipment).

In all circumstances:

  • staff are to wear PPE as prescribed in the CEC guidelines
  • staff are not to undertake or be required to undertake tasks requiring PPE if the PPE is not available for use. Any such tasks are not to proceed until required PPE is available.

Where staff are performing tasks requiring P2/N95 mask use under the CEC guidelines and where the employee has fit checked the available P2/N95 mask sizes and these sizes are not a correct fit, then the employee is to be temporarily redirected to work which does not require the use of a P2/N95 mask until suitable masks with correct fit become available

Resources below have been developed to provide guidance on contact, droplet and airborne precautions in healthcare settings. More information on Transmission-Based Precautions is available on our Infection Prevention and Control pages. Information on COVID-19, relating to matters other than PPE, can be found at NSW Health.

COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control - Response and Escalation Framework V2.0 (PDF)

Published: 18 November 2020 | Audience: health managers and health workers | Size: 1.7 MB KB, 27 pages

This COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Response and Escalation Framework (risk matrix) has been developed to provide guidance to NSW health facilities on the various levels of COVID-19 transmission risk.

Read with: Risk Monitoring Dashboard


Respiratory Protection Program Implementation Resources (PDF)

Published: 26 October 2020 | Audience: health managers and health workers | Size: 1.4 MB KB, 56 pages

The following implementation resource package provides New South Wales (NSW) Local Health Districts (LHDs) and Speciality Health Networks (SHN) with key resources to support and implement their local Respiratory Protection Program (RPP).

Read with: Respiratory Protection in Healthcare, Application of PPE During COVID-19 Pandemic.


ePortfolio NSW Health documents for external providers (PDF)

Published: 23 October 2020 | Audience: health managers and health workers | Size: 162 KB, 3 pages

This document contains Respiratory Protection Program resources.

Read with: Respiratory Protection in Healthcare, Fit test flowchart, Cleaning and disinfection of quantitative equipment


Cleaning and disinfection of quantitative equipment (PDF)

Published: 22 October 2020 | Audience: health managers and health workers | Size: 188 KB, 3 pages

This guidance provides direction for cleaning and disinfection of the reusable components of quantitative fit test equipment.


Virtual Reality Head Mounted Display Cleaning and Disinfection Guide (PDF)

Published: 17 September 2020 | Audience: health managers and health workers | Size: 344 KB, 4 pages

The objective of this guide to provide information on how to clean virtual reality (VR) equipment to minimise the risk of transmitting pathogenic microorganisms between users


Mask Wearing and Skin Sensitivity (PDF)

Published: 7 September 2020 | Audience: health managers and health workers | Size: 79 KB, 4 pages

This guidance relates solely to considerations for surgical mask use to reduce skin irritation.

Read with: Application of PPE in COVID-19


Respiratory Protection in Healthcare (PDF)

Published: 12 August 2020 | Audience: health managers and health workers | Size: 480 KB, 16 pages

This document provides guidance for LHDs and SHNs regarding respiratory protection which uses a risk management approach based on the risk of exposure to infectious droplet and airborne pathogens.


Decision algorithm for Recommended Personal Protective Equipment in Allied Health Procedures (PDF)

Published: 11 June 2020 | Audience: Allied Health Workers | Size: 221.8 KB, 5 pages

This guide is intended to support Allied Health professionals' decision making in relation to the indications for the recommended use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in hospitals, community health centres and other facilities.


Application of PPE in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic V2.3 (PDF)

Published: 14 August 2020 | Audience: health managers and health workers | Size 1.4 MB, 45 pages

This document provides guidance on using gowns, surgical masks, P2 and N95 masks, and mask fit checking and fit testing.


Quick Guide to PPE for the Emergency Department V4.1 (PDF)

Updated: 14 September 2020 | Audience: health workers | Size 181 KB, 4 pages

This document provides a quick reference guide for using PPE in emergency departments and includes information on PPE use at different risk levels of COVID-19 infection.


Principles of fit checking: how to don and fit check P2 and N95 masks V1 (PDF)

Published: 19 March 2020 | Audience: health workers | Size 595 KB, 1 page

This visual step-by-step guide shows one example of how to safely put on and fit-check P2 and N95 masks.


COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control - Guide for correct sterile surgical gown selection V1 (PDF)

Published: 2 June 2020 | Audience: health workers | Size: 80 KB, 4 pages

This guide provides advice to facilitate easy identification of an appropriate surgical gown for surgical/aseptic procedures.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Keeping health workers and consumers safe V1 [PPT]

Published: 5 May 2020 | Audience: health workers | Size 4MB, 58 pages

This adaptable presentation is an introduction to infection prevention and control standard and transmission–based precautions summarising the purpose of PPE and detailed steps for safe donning and doffing.


Training

NSW Health staff are encouraged to complete three My Health Learning modules related to COVID-19, in addition to the new module titled "Personal protective equipment for combined transmission-based precautions".

The education videos on this page are also available to view on the Clinical Excellence Commission YouTube channel.

Additional My Health Learning modules

  • Infection Prevention and Control Practices (Course code: 46777047)
  • Infection Prevention – Transmission Based Precautions (Course code: 253093581)
  • Infection Prevention – Enhanced Precautions for Pandemic Flu (Course code: 289888589)

Transmission Based Precautions

Health workers must have an understanding of the basic principles of Contact, Droplet and Airborne precautions as they are applied individually. The combined precautions are required for COVID-19 in clinical practice.

The proper removal (doffing) and disposal of contaminated PPE is the most important step in preventing inadvertent exposure to pathogens. There are a variety of ways to safely remove PPE without contaminating your clothing, skin, or mucous membranes with potentially infectious materials. See three examples below.

NB: Facilities can adopt other safe ways of PPE removal according to local guidelines and procedures.

Hand Hygiene should be performed between steps and at any point where contamination occurs.

My Health Learning videos

HETI have create video training resources for healthcare staff. These are divided into the three categories of airborne, contact and droplet precautions.

Watch Videos

Clinical Competency Assessment for Combined Precautions (Word)

New: 20 October 2020 | Audience: health managers  | Size 190 KB,  5 pages

Checklist to assess clinical competency for combined precautions.


PPE training videos

These PPE training videos outline the steps for putting on and taking off PPE when applying combined contact and droplet precautions or combined contact droplet and airborne precautions in addition to standard precautions, when caring for patients with some infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

NSW Health staff are required to view the videos in My Health Learning (Course Code 294450660, PPE for combined transmission-based precautions).

Always refer to your local infection prevention and control guidelines if you are unsure whether these recommendations apply in your workplace. We acknowledge there will be variation in the PPE available in different settings according to needs, so the videos provide one example of step-by step personal protective equipment (PPE) donning and two examples of PPE doffing specifically for patients with COVID-19.

Health workers must have an understanding of the basic principles of transmission based precautions as they are applied individually. Once basic principles of these precautions are understood, the requirement for combining these precautions improves overall understanding. For individual components of PPE donning and doffing see My Health Learning -Transmission Based Precautions modules.

Combined contact and droplet precautions

For patients with infections such as COVID-19, you will need to use contact and droplet precautions combined to provide the protection required for health workers.

This video briefly outlines the steps for putting on and taking off PPE when applying contact and droplet precautions in addition to standard precautions, when caring for patients with some infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

Combined contact, droplet and airborne precautions

Some procedures are believed to generate aerosols beyond normal droplet dispersion as a source of respiratory pathogens. These procedures include intubation, extubation, non-invasive ventilation, bronchoscopy, and high flow nasal oxygen. A number of procedures may generate droplets but are not considered as an aerosol generating procedure and contact and droplet precautions provide the correct precautions for these procedures. Standard precautions apply at all times.

For patients with infections such as COVID-19 and aerosol generating procedures, you will need to use contact, droplet and airborne precautions combined to provide the protection required for health workers. Some critically ill patients requiring extended length of care may also require addition of airborne precautions.

This video briefly outlines the principles and steps for putting on and taking off PPE when applying contact, droplet and airborne precautions in addition to standard precautions, when aerosol generating procedures are conducted on patients with COVID-19.

Resources