[Source: PLoS One, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]
OPEN ACCESS / PEER-REVIEWED / RESEARCH ARTICLE
Limiting factors for wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) in a health care environment evaluated in a randomised study
Martina Loibner, Sandra Hagauer, Gerold Schwantzer, Andrea Berghold, Kurt Zatloukal
Published: January 22, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210775
Pandemics and re-emerging diseases put pressure on the health care system to prepare for patient care and sample logistics requiring enhanced personnel protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers. We generated quantifiable data on ergonomics of PPE applicable in a health care setting by defining error rates and physically limiting factors due to PPE-induced restrictions. Nineteen study volunteers tested randomly allocated head- or full body-ventilated PPE suits equipped with powered-air-purifying-respirators and performed four different tasks (two laboratory tutorials, a timed test of selective attention and a test investigating reaction time, mobility, speed and physical exercise) during 6 working hours at 22°C on one day and 4 working hours at 28°C on another day. Error rates and physical parameters (fluid loss, body temperature, heart rate) were determined and ergonomic-related parameters were assessed hourly using assessment sheets. Depending on the PPE system the most restrictive factors, which however had no negative impact on performance (speed and error rate), were: reduced dexterity due to multiple glove layers, impaired visibility by flexible face shields and back pain related to the respirator of the fully ventilated suit. Heat stress and liquid loss were perceived as restrictive at a working temperature of 28°C but not 22°C.
Citation: Loibner M, Hagauer S, Schwantzer G, Berghold A, Zatloukal K (2019) Limiting factors for wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) in a health care environment evaluated in a randomised study. PLoS ONE 14(1): e0210775. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210775
Editor: Regan Marsh, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, UNITED STATES
Received: January 12, 2017; Accepted: December 29, 2018; Published: January 22, 2019
Copyright: © 2019 Loibner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.
Funding: We would like to acknowledge the Christian Doppler Research Fund (Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, the National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development) and ERINHA (European Research Infrastructure on Highly Pathogenic Agents, FP7-INFRA-2010-2-2.8) for financial support of our research project to KZ. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Keywords: Pandemic Preparedness; Infectious Diseases; PPE; Healthcare workers.