Employees must know how to doff PPE correctly. Different workers wearing different types and amounts of PPE will have diverse doffing guidelines and steps to be followed. The process of doffing PPE is especially critical for personnel working in hazardous operations and with hazardous materials. Since their PPE is contaminated, it must be removed carefully without causing external, indirect or unknown contamination to the worker. It is important to remember to avoid contact with the outside surface of the used PPE. Thus, when removing PPE, the method and order of doffing PPE are crucial for such workers. For HAZMAT or HAZWOPER workers who wear many types of PPE—respirators/SCBA masks, gloves, safety boots, self-carry oxygen packs, HAZMAT/chemical-protective suits—it is sometimes difficult to understand what to remove first. Besides, it is mandatory for personnel who have been working in contaminated zones to go through a decontamination process before doffing their PPE. The need for the safe removal of PPE also requires them to ask for assistance from a third person.
Thus, we can surmise that the doffing of PPE is quite complicated. The general procedure to follow when HAZWOPER workers take off their PPE is below:
Step 1: Remove disposable items such as boot coverings or tapes first.
Step 2: Remove safety footwear.
Step 3: Loosen ties and closings and then remove the hood.
Step 4: Remove arms from the sleeves of the HAZMAT suit, carefully, one at a time.
Step 5: Remove the lower part of the suit.
Step 6: Remove respirators, SCBA facepieces, and accompanying backpacks.
Step 7: Remove inner surgical gloves and other protective clothing.
Step 8: Clean the body thoroughly.