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Medical Scrubs: Is it Right To Refer To Them As PPE(Personal Protective Equipment)?

Scrubs -

Medical Scrubs: Is it Right To Refer To Them As PPE(Personal Protective Equipment)?

The short answer is no. The lengthy one is a little more complex than that. Medical Scrubs cannot be referred to as PPE. We’ll explain why.

But, first….


Why is PPE Important?

Because any hospital uniforms that are branded PPE should provide you the highest level of protection against infections even when you have your medical apparel on. Scrubs do not provide this protection level.

Danger presents itself in different forms. A source of irritation can be chemical, mechanical, environmental, or radiological. When encountered through physical contact, inhalation, or absorption, hazards can cause impairment or injury to any body part.

The Occupational Health and Safety Assistant (OHSA), introduced a law to keep medical employees safe from physical danger. 


Rules For PPE Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment Must have long Sleeves

Most medical scrubs tops and hospital uniforms are usually short-sleeved.  Based on OHSA’s requirements, PPE could cover the arms from the shoulder to the wrist. 

This law was made to protect medical personnel from aerosols. 

If staff make use of medical scrubs as PPE, the top of your scrub should have long sleeves or wear arm coverings. Imagine employees at lunch in contaminated medical scrubs. That will expose everyone around to pathogenic microorganisms.


Taking Off The PPE Uniforms

Employees should remove their medical apparel whenever they leave a clinical area and replace them whenever torn or visibly soiled.  For medical scrubs to count as PPE, medical staff would change them more often than the medical apparel over their scrubs.


Medical Employees Cannot Launder PPE

If you want to research this by searching for medical apparel or nurse clothes near me, you will find out that OHSA bans any medical employee from taking medical apparel home for laundry. They are mandated to launder them on-site or contract a commercial launder to wash them.

When practice is a sole proprietorship or partnership instead of an LLC or corporation, in this case, the practice owner is not recognized as an employee. Practice owners can be granted to take their personal protective equipment home for laundry.


Medical Apparel Or Hospital Uniform

Medical employees sometimes wear their medical apparel as a uniform, medical gown, or lab jacket when necessary.

If medical employees use medical scrubs as uniforms rather than PPE, OHSA can not control the laundry law.


Which PPE is preferred to Medical Scrubs

OHSA recommends wearing gowns or lab jackets. This is mandatory for employees to wear them when exposed to liquid splatter or aerosols of potential infection material. Here are more examples of PPE:

  • Face mask
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves
  • Respirator

The OHSA compliance is not optional, It is a smart and painless decision.