Donning and Doffing PPE

Workers must Don (put on) and use PPE properly to achieve the intended protection and minimize the risk of infection. Workers should Doff (remove) PPE in a way that avoids self-contamination. For example, avoid skin and mucous membrane contact with potentially infectious materials. Do not remove respirators in work areas where air contaminants (e.g., airborne-transmissible agents) may be present. 

The order of PPE donning and doffing may vary depending on the infectious agent(s), the type of PPE a worker uses, the nature of the work tasks, and which devices or garments are contaminated. 

Donning and doffing procedures must be in writing, including:

  • Using a checklist to ensure all procedures are followed.
  • PPE must be put on and taken off in the proper order to avoid contamination.
  • A trained observer/trained observer’s assistant must be present to assist and document the procedure. 

When using designated areas for donning and doffing PPE, the layout must allow for clear separation between clean and potentially contaminated areas. This may range from the use of a multi-stage decontamination unit that is specially constructed for decontamination and disinfection of the workers’ PPE as they exit the contaminated work area. This can also take place in an anteroom outside a patient’s room in a healthcare facility.