Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is used to prevent injury and illness in workers when eliminating workplace hazards is not possible.

Critical PPE includes:

  • Nitrile gloves
  • Face shields
  • N95 masks
  • Isolation gowns
  • Level 3 or level 4 gowns
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Other supplies and supportive treatment equipment, including Mask Face (Aseptic w/Ear Loop)
  • Other sample collection and diagnostic materials, including viral swabs

Ordering Critical PPE

[Updated November 2020]
The impact of COVID-19 on global supply chains, has caused a shortage of PPE, limiting UBC’s access to these important supplies.

Critical PPE can be ordered through the Critical Supply team:

  • First, submit a requisition in Workday. For information on how to submit a purchase requisition using Workday, click here.
  • A member of the SRS team will then contact you to discuss your order.

If you require assistance, have questions, or are aware of any PPE supplies on campus currently not being used, please email

Please note: if you are ordering PPE for COVID-19 research, please indicate this in your requisition.

Non-medical masks

Effective Wednesday, September 16, 2020, UBC students, faculty, staff and visitors are required to wear non-medical masks, when indoors on our campuses.

The requirement to wear non-medical masks indoors recognizes that transmission is reduced when face masks are worn in conjunction with physical distancing and other safety practices.

More information can be found on the “Using non-medical masks” page.

Disposing of PPE

How PPE is disposed of is determined by the type of hazardous substance it has come into contact with. Unless significantly contaminated with hazardous substances, PPE should go into the regular trash stream.

Hazardous waste disposal resources, especially those for biomedical waste, must be conserved and used only as necessary. Please see below for more specific guidance.

Do not under any circumstances flush PPE down the toilet.

Cleaning reusable PPE

Where feasible, reusable PPE should be sourced and cleaned according to the manufacturer’s directions. For gowns, scrubs and lab coats it is important to use established, reputable service providers if in-house laundry services are not available.

SRS Occupational Hygiene provides detailed guidance on the care and use of respirators.

Eye protection, including safety glasses or goggles, and face shields are best cleaned with alcohol based disinfectant – 70% Isopropanol or 80% Ethanol for 10 minutes.

The role of PPE in protecting campus users

This diagram shows the relative effectiveness of the methods used to control any risk.

A number of measures are used to protect individuals from hazards, such as infection from diseases. PPE is the least effective of these measures, as shown in the diagram below, and must be combined with others to provide sufficient protection.

Following the guidance of the BC Centre for Disease Control, UBC has put effective measures in place to reduce the risk of infection, such as:

  • Physical distancing wherever feasible including scheduling workers to allow for physical distancing (Elimination)
  • Physical barriers where feasible, eg. point of service at food outlets (Engineering controls)
  • Maximizing remote working arrangements and controlling occupancy (Administrative Control)
  • Face Shields and Respirators where appropriate (Personal Protective Equipment)