Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Communicable Diseases

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is specialized clothing or equipment used to prevent contact with hazardous substances. Its use is an integral part of infection control and prevention measures that protect workers from exposure to blood, body fluids, and other potentially infectious materials.  PPE such as gowns, gloves, masks, and goggles provide physical barriers that prevent the hands, skin, clothing, eyes, nose, and mouth from coming in contact with infectious agents.   PPE is used to reduce transmission of communicable diseases when other measures, such as engineering controls and work practices, cannot completely eliminate exposure.

Employers are required by OSHA standard 29 CFR Part 1910.132 to assess the workplace for hazards that necessitate the use of PPE and document that such a Hazard Assessment (Word,  121 KB) has been done. Employers must also develop a PPE Program, provide appropriate PPE in the workplace, store and maintain PPE in good working order, train employees on proper use of PPE, and ensure that employees use PPE appropriately.

Local Public Health Agencies (LPHA), including Local Health Departments and Tribes, must have PPE readily available at all times for use by employees with exposure to communicable diseases. Items such as uniforms, pants, blouses, and eye wear not intended to protect against communicable diseases are not considered PPE.

More information is available on the Division of Public Health Communicable Diseases web site under Infection Control which will address:


OSHA General PPE Requirements Standard  29CFR1910 Subpart I

If you have any questions, e-mail Gwen Borlaug at

Last Revised: January 23, 2015