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Personal protective equipment (PPE) staff guidance

Last Updated 12:50pm, 9 June 2020


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Guide for staff working within local authority, education, community and social care settings

Please download the latest policy and guidance from Devon County Council:

Personal protective equipment (PPE) for the COVID-19 pandemic – revised guide for staff working in local authority, education, community and social care settings

  • Issue 5 has been based on national guidance accurate as of 11 June 2020.
  • This guide does not supersede national guidance but has been developed in partnership with all south west local authorities to assist with local interpretation of multiple national documents.
  • It can be used to help determine whether and what type of PPE is required for different job roles within local authority, education, community and social care settings.
  • Please note that this is a live document and may need to be updated following changes to national guidance, so please check the link regularly.
  • The scenarios included in this staff guide are not exhaustive, but we have tried to cover a wide range to reflect the work of local authorities and partners. Further advice may need to be sought from your line manager/relevant service area if your particular scenario is not covered.
  • We are currently in a period of sustained community transmission within the UK and Table 4 of the national PPE guidance, therefore, applies in the ‘NHS and independent sector’. There has been considerable confusion regarding implementation of Table 4 for local authority and community settings and this has been raised nationally. However, the publication of subsequent guidance for care homes and domiciliary care settings supports the interpretation that Table 4 now applies in health and adult social care settings.

This 5th issue of the guidance for local authority staff (version 45 11.6.20) has been updated to reflect the new guidance on coronavirus symptoms, staying alert and safe (social distancing), staying safe outside your home and working safely, along with updated guidance for specific settings.

Information on modes of transmission has been added to the best practice use of PPE. Additional guidance has also been added to the section on education, childcare and children’s services.

This guidance will be further updated in line with any published guidance on this matter as it arises. Finally, as this guidance has grown in breadth and scope, we have added a contents section to enable navigation.

If you wish to link to this guidance please use this URL – – to ensure you always point to the latest version. This includes DCC staff, to avoid the wrong URL being circulated.

Face covering advice

To provide clarity around the use of face coverings, we have updated our health and safety advice and Safer working frequently asked questions.

The government recommends that you wear a face covering when in enclosed spaces where you are unable to maintain social distancing and when you are coming into contact with people you do not normally meet.

Currently, it is mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport and when visiting hospital. Use of face coverings in other settings is optional.

In line with this guidance, we will not be providing face coverings for staff or visitors at our workplaces but will continue to carry out risk assessments and make safer working arrangements as appropriate to the setting and service needs. However, if you do wish to wear a face covering at work, please feel free to do so.

It is important to remember that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may offer some protection to others if you are infected but have not developed symptoms.

A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace.

How to wear and make face coverings provides guidance on appropriate use and also covers how to make face-coverings at home. The key thing is it should cover the mouth and nose.

It is important that you use them properly and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and after removing it. Importantly, the use of a face covering should not replace social distancing and regular hand and surface washing.

If you have any questions or concerns about the use of face coverings at work, or when working in other settings requiring staff to wear a surgical face mask, such as hospitals, please speak to your line manager and refer to your workplace risk assessment.

We will update our PPE staff guide following any changes to national published guidance.