Respiratory Protection Program

The Respiratory Protection Program is in place to decrease potential risks to employees who may be exposed to breathing hazards. It is mandatory for all employees who use respirators to be fit tested every two years. 


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in COVID-19 - FAQs

The best way to protect yourself and reduce the risk of transmission is to remain 2 meters away from others. If this is not possible, non-medical masks and medical masks can be used. PPE should always be used in conjunction with other prevention measures, like frequent hand washing, covering coughs/sneezes, and not touching your face. You must receive training before using personal protective equipment.

Refer to your Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and hazard assessment documents to determine what type(s) of PPE you will require for your job tasks.

  • Medical masks provide a barrier to splashes, saliva, or spit, droplets when used in conjunction with other PPE items such as eye protection, gown, and gloves. They do not fit tightly against the face. These PPE options are only required for people performing work within 2 meters of an individual who is sick or isolating (e.g. providing first aid or other patient care).
  • Non-medical masks, such as homemade cloth masks, have not been proven to protect the person wearing it. However, may be helpful in protecting others around you by reducing the spread of droplets that come out of your mouth. Additional PPE items such as gloves, gown and eye protection are not required when wearing a non-medical mask or face covering.

If you’re standing close to another person, within 2 meters, wearing one of these masks can reduce virus spread.

After putting on your mask, make sure you don’t touch the front. The front will be covered in germs and other contaminants.

Make sure you’re using one mask per task or time period. Remove your mask if you leave the area of exposure or if you are no longer exposed to others. If you are exposed again or someone comes back within 2 meters, put on a new mask.

It is important to follow appropriate procedure while wearing these masks. If worn improperly, you can self contaminate. These masks can also provide a false sense of security, so its’ important to know the facts on how and when to use medical and non-medical masks.

Donning (putting on) your mask:

  1. Clean your hands with soap and water or a 60% alcohol-based hand rub
  2. Apply mask securely to face
  3. Open mask up so it covers your nose and mouth
  4. Do not touch your face or mask. If you do, clean your hands

 

Doffing (removing) your mask:

  1. Clean your hands with soap and water or a 60% alcohol-based hand rub
  2. Remove mask from behind. Do not touch the front of your mask
  3. Dispose of in the garbage immediately
  4. Clean your hands again

Putting on and taking off a cloth mask is the same as putting on and taking off a disposable mask. The main difference between cloth masks and disposable masks is that you can keep the cloth mask to reuse.

Make sure to keep your dirty cloth masks in a designated bag as dirty masks can contaminate other masks.

You can put your dirty cloth masks in the wash with other clothes that are being washed in hot water and then dried thoroughly.

Try to have enough clean cloth masks for each task.

Gloves can prevent exposure to infectious people and body fluids. Like medical masks, gloves are a recommended piece of personal protective equipment for people with direct exposure to people or environments with people who are ill.

Gloves act as a barrier between the skin of the hands. Gloves can still spread disease if gloves are contaminated by touching contaminated gloves to the nose, mouth or face. Gloves do not replace hand washing, and hands should be washed after the removal of gloves.

Use of gloves for most general work duties is not recommended at this time. Gloves have been provided and are available for departments with individuals who have direct exposure risks.

Other PPE items such as non-permeable gowns and eye protection are used in combination with other PPE only when performing work within 2 meters of an individual who is sick or isolating. Other PPE items are not recommended for other general work duties at this time.

For more information on preventing spread during COVID-19 visit: https://www.alberta.ca/prevent-the-spread.aspx

Talk to your supervisor if you have questions about how to protect yourself and personal protective equipment.