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How to properly wear personal protective equipment for airborne contaminants

The film deals with personal protective equipment (PPE) that is designed to protect your eyes, nose, mouth and respiratory system from airborne contaminants such as fibres, dust, gas and vapour.

Download a copy of this film (MP4, 310MB)

Personal protective equipment

This film shows you how to correctly and safely put on, wear and remove personal protective equipment. It also shows you how to safely dispose of it. Personal protective equipment (or PPE) is designed to protect your eyes, nose, mouth and respiratory system from airborne contaminants such as fibres, dust, gas and vapour.

Completing a risk assessment will help you to choose the right PPE for the task. It will determine whether you need to wear items such as boot covers, disposable coveralls with a hood, a respirator, eye protection or a face shield and gloves. The rating of the PPE you need to wear to complete the task is critical. Certain items of PPE, such as respirators and coveralls, are rated depending on the hazards they protect you from. If you need to wear PPE, you must be trained and given instructions to know how to use it a dispose of it properly.

Firstly, set up a clean area where you will put on and take off your PPE. You should lay down a piece of plastic on the ground that can be disposed of later. Choose an area that is outside the hazard or where task is to be done, but as close to it as possible. This is where you will store items to assist you when removing your PPE, such as something to decontaminate reusable PPE (wet wipes are one option), thick plastic bags to dispose of wet wipes and disposable PPE, containers for storing reusable PPE and a roll of duct tape. Have a waste bag opened and taped to the wall, ready to receive disposable items of PPE.

Before putting on your PPE, remove all jewellery, including watches and wedding rings. Your PPE items must fit properly and be in good working order. If you are using a respirator, it must be fit tested. The order of putting on your PPE is important, boot covers first then disposable coveralls, your respirator, followed by eye protection or face shield. Next, put on your gloves. The last item of PPE to put on is the hood of your coveralls. When putting on disposable boot covers, the tough surface of the covers should be under the soles of your boots. The boot covers should be secured around your ankles using the ties, and then securely taped around your feet using duct tape. Shape a tab at the end of the duct tape to make it easier to remove later. When putting on your disposable coveralls, be careful not to tear the fabric and ensure the zip is pulled up to prevent dust getting into openings. Disposable and reusable respirators are fitted with filters to protect you from inhaling dust, vapours and fibres. The respirator and filters that you use should be rated and suitable for the kinds of hazards present. You can use a disposable or a reusable respirator. When putting on a disposable respirator hold it in your hand with the nosepiece at your fingertips, allowing the head straps to hang freely below your hand. Position the respirator under your chin and over your nose and hold it firmly in position. Pull the elastic straps over the top of your head. The bottom strap should be below your ears and the top strap high on the back of your head, above the ears. If you have long hair, ensure it isn't caught underneath the bottom strap. Using both hands, mould the plastic nosepiece to the shape of your nose. To put on a reusable respirator loosen the straps. Place the respirator over your mouth and nose. Place the bottom strap behind your head, ensuring long hair is moved from under it. Pull the top strap over your head, making sure the head harness is on the top of your head. Tighten the straps and check the fit so it fits securely to your face. To ensure there is an airtight seal, make sure your face is clean shaven. 'Fit checking' will determine if the respirator seals correctly, and can be done in two ways, depending on whether your respirator has valves. If you are using a disposable respirator and it does not have a valve, place your hands over the respirator and breathe out hard. If the seal isn't good, you'll feel air leaking out from the edges of the mask. If you are using a reusable respirator that does have a valve or cartridge, or a disposable respirator that has a valve, place a hand over each cartridge or on the valve, and take a quick, deep breath in. If it is well-sealed, the respirator will collapse slightly inwards, and you won't feel any air passing between it and your face. Any detected air leaks should be corrected by re-positioning the respirator and checking again. There are a variety of face shields and eye protection options to choose from depending on the task and the surrounding conditions. When putting on your eye or face protection, make sure there is no interference with your respirator straps. Next, put your gloves on. The last item of PPE to put on is the hood of your coveralls. Place the hood over your head and secure it around your face and over the straps of your respirator, and zip it up. Now - you're ready to start work!

When the task is complete, you need to safely remove your PPE in the correct order to minimise contaminating other areas. Move to the change area where you first put on your PPE. Next unzip your coveralls to the middle of your chest. Take your hood off by rolling it backwards on itself. Unzip the rest of the coveralls. Remove your arms by keeping them straight behind your back and pulling your arms out of the sleeves. Gather the sleeves and continue to remove the coveralls by rolling them inside out until they are around your ankles. Remove your legs from the coveralls, and step back onto them. Then you can un-tie and un-tape your disposable boot covers. Roll your coveralls and boot covers into a ball and place them into the waste bag. When removing your gloves, grasp the palm of one glove near your wrist and carefully peel it off, turning it inside-out. Do the same for the second glove and place both into the waste bag, then clean your hands with wet wipes and safely dispose of them into the bag. Remove your safety glasses or face shield. Wipe them over with a wet wipe or dispose of them in the waste bag. Finally, remove your respirator. Removing your respirator last will protect you while removing all other PPE. Lean forward and remove it from your face by the straps, taking care not to touch the front. A disposable respirator should be disposed into the waste bag. But a reusable respirator should be treated by separating the filter from the respirator wiping the outside and inside surfaces of the respirator with separate wet wipes. Wiping the filter with wet wipes and placing it and the respirator into separate storage containers, sealing both the containers, to ensure they remain uncontaminated for their next use. A filter at the end of its life should be immediately disposed of. Safely dispose of the plastic on the ground by folding it inwards and placing it in the waste bag, then wipe your hands with a wet wipe and wash them as soon as possible.

When disposing of contaminated PPE, seal the first bag, and then place it into a second waste bag. Seal the outer bag via a 'goose neck'. Hold the bag about one-third of the way from the top and while tightly twisting begin taping the bag using duct tape. Once you have taped to the top of the bag, fold the taped section in half and tape the folded parts together to the top of the fold. Label the outside of the outer bag with the words 'Contaminated PPE'. Dispose of the waste according to local council laws and waste sites. For more information on the correct use of PPE for airborne contaminants, visit Or call 1300 362 128.

Remember Work safe. Home safe.

RUNTIME: 8 min 46 secs