Demonstrate the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and when to use it

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: This page has been quality assured for 2021 as per our Quality Assurance policy.

Your employer must provide you with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as well as instruction, policies, procedures and training so that you can perform your job role safely.

In care settings, PPE is used to create a barrier between individuals to prevent cross-infection – this is the transmission of pathogens from one individual to another. For example, if you wear gloves when performing personal care, it prevents pathogens coming into contact with the skin on your hands, as well as preventing any pathogens on your hands from coming into contact with the individual you are supporting.

This breaks the chain of infection. There is a higher chance of cross-infection in care settings because it is likely that care workers will come into contact with bodily fluids such as urine, faeces and saliva.

There are many types of PPE including:

  • Disposable aprons – reduces the likelihood of pathogens being carried on clothing
  • Disposable gloves – prevents pathogens being carried on the hands (people that are allergic to latex gloves should be offered an alternative)
  • Eye protection such as googles – prevents pathogens from entering the body through the eyes
  • Facemasks – reduces the likelihood of pathogens entering the mouth or nose, either physically or through respiration
  • Hearing protection such as ear defenders or earplugs – a different example of PPE to demonstrate that not all PPE is used to prevent infection. Ear protection is used in very loud environments such as construction sites to prevent damage to an individual’s hearing.

You should be able to demonstrate how to use any PPE provided by your employer in line with their agreed ways of working.

You should show your tutor that you adhere to the PPE manufacturer’s instructions as well as your employer’s policies and procedures. Correct method should also be demonstrated when putting on, removing and disposing of PPE. In addition, always wash your hands before using and after disposing of PPE.

PPE should be changed whenever there is a change in the individual or the task being performed. So, as well as changing to clean PPE when working with a different individual, you should also change PPE if, for example, you transition from assisting the same individual with washing and then with eating.

PPE should be checked for defects before use and any concerns with PPE should be reported to your manager.