Personal Protective Equipment
Information on this page is subject to change and was last updated July 10, 2020.
Non-medical masks, including cloth masks or homemade face coverings, are not a requirement for most workplaces to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and are generally not considered PPE. However, if you feel that you would like to wear a mask that is a personal choice.
In the workplace, these masks can be considered as a last option for tasks where physical distancing, engineering and administrative controls aren’t enough to control the risks, and should always be used in combination with other controls as part of your safe work plan.
For all other workplace or campus situations, wearing a non-medical mask is a matter of personal choice and may help to protect others. It is important to understand how to use a non-medical mask, and their limitations as a protective measure (see resources below).
Medical masks and PPE
Medical masks, including surgical or procedure masks, are specifically designed for health care environments and are considered PPE. These masks, along with N95 respirators, should only be used as part of PPE that would otherwise be required in health care or specialized laboratory protocols.
These masks and respirators should not be used for general protection against COVID-19 in the workplace, as they are prioritized for health care workers and COVID related research and are in very limited supply.
Medical experts say that it’s not necessary for you to wear gloves to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Other measures, such as physical distancing and good hygiene practices, are more effective in preventing the risk of transmission.
Units or supervisors may choose to incorporate the use of gloves in their safe work plan, in combination with other control measures. Gloves may be considered as an additional protective measure in circumstances where employees are touching items in common areas, particularly materials with which other workers have or will come into contact with and/or for the use of sensitive equipment that cannot easily be cleaned.
If gloves are incorporated in the safe work plan, supervisors must ensure that employees are using them in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and good hygiene practices. This includes:
- Choosing the proper gloves for the chemicals or other materials you are handling.
- Proper donning and doffing of gloves to minimize contamination. If you are wearing a mask, put your gloves on last, and take them off first when you are finished. Wash your hands before and after wearing gloves.
- Changing gloves after there is a tear, damage or puncture.
- Not using hand sanitizer on gloves.
Where can I get a non-medical mask or gloves?
PPE if approved as part of your safety plan will be supplied via our corporate procurement system. If people prefer the addition of wearing a non-medical face mask in excess of their required safety plan, there are a number of local groups that are making these types of masks.