Skip to main content

Warning notification:Warning

Unfortunately, you are using an outdated browser. Please, upgrade your browser to improve your experience with HSE. The list of supported browsers:

  1. Chrome
  2. Edge
  3. FireFox
  4. Opera
  5. Safari

Healthcare workers and PPE

From 19 April guidance around mask wearing has changed.

Local risk assessments will help in deciding when to stop using facemasks in each setting. Healthcare staff in low risk settings should use standard precautions, and assess if wearing a surgical mask or other PPE is required.

Healthcare staff living and working with residents in health and social care settings should use standard precautions when caring for those who are not suspected of having COVID-19/respiratory illness, and decide if a facemask or other PPE should be worn.

In settings where face masks are not deemed necessary staff will not be required to wear them, but may choose to do so. Surgical and respirator masks should continue to be available to healthcare staff in all settings.

Staff should continue to do a point of care risk assessment before carrying out any treatment or interaction with service users (PCRA (PDF, 812 KB, 1 page)). You should carry out hand hygiene in all cases to protect service users and yourself (WHO 5 moments (PDF, 338 KB, 1 page)).

Staff in non-clinical settings are not required to wear a surgical mask, but may choose to do so.

When to wear a facemask

Healthcare staff should wear a surgical mask or respirator mask in settings where:

  • patients have suspected or confirmed COVID-19/respiratory illness
  • infection prevention and control team advise of a high risk that patients with unsuspected COVID-19/respiratory illness are likely to be present

Related content

Face masks - when and how to wear one

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidance

Related documents

Acute hospital infection prevention and control precautions for possible or confirmed COVID-19 in a pandemic setting V2.18 30.03.2023 (PDF, 1.2 MB, 71 pages)

Current recommendations for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic V2.9 31.03.2023 (PDF, 322 KB, 14 pages)

Prevention and management of cases and outbreaks of COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory infections in residential care facilities (PDF, 905 KB, 67 pages)