A quantitative study to explore the experience of employees using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic (March-December 2020)

  • Adelina Blanaru
Keywords: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, experiences


This research study focused on exploring employees’ experience with the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic, from March to December 2020.  Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, the first incidence of this new virus being recorded on 31 December 2019, following a report of a cluster of cases of ‘viral pneumonia’ in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China (WHO, 2020). Although positive impacts such as significantly reducing the infection rates of coronavirus cases have been linked to the use of PPE, a review of the literature around workers’ experience, attitude and awareness highlighted negative effects such as anxiety or depression have been associated with the use of PPE. Additional factors have also been found to have had an influence on these outcomes. To explore this further, an online survey was completed by 78 UK workers who had been using PPE since the start of the pandemic. The participants were recruited through social media (Twitter) and organisation’s gatekeepers. Data was analysed using Excel for descriptive statistics and chi-squared tests were performed.  The results showed that the vast majority of participants (90%) had been using additional PPE since the pandemic started and those participants who were using PPE prior to the COVID-19 pandemic were more likely to agree that PPE was important. Generally, participants had a positive attitude towards the use of PPE but expressed that there were challenges when wearing such equipment, for example the level of comfort.  Finally, as found in previous research and highlighted in this study as well, it is recommended that companies should do more in regards to spreading awareness about the use of PPE in the workplace, whilst further research can be developed and enhancements could also be made in relation to the equipment itself.  The findings presented in this study and the literature reviewed can be a starting point in looking at better ways to improve users’ experience of using PPE.