Where did PPE actually originate?

Personal protective equipment (PPE) plays an integral role today in the prevention of infectious disease transmission in long term care settings. But where did PPE originate?

The concept of PPE is several centuries old, and it was thought to have begun during the first world war to prevent contamination from chemical warfare (Centers for Disease Control, 1975). Soldiers used respirators to protect themselves from toxic chemicals and Leonardo da Vinci was thought to be the original inventor of the respirator during the 16th century (Centers for Disease Control, 1975).

Since the war years, respiratory protection technology has been consistent and is much more dependable as certain requirements for respirator masks must be upheld by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA).


The N95 respirator mask is an important tool used in healthcare settings that is mandated for the use of treating patients with pulmonary tuberculosis or other respiratory illnesses transmissible via the airborne route. This type of PPE is individualized and fits to each person differently, thus, healthcare workers are mandated to undergo a “fit test” for maximum benefit as face shape impacts efficiency of use.

IPAC offers N95 fit-testing as well as training on PPE. Click below to learn more:

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Qualitative Fit-Testing for N95 Respirators

As part of Canada’s occupational health and safety legislation, fit testing is required to determine whether a respirator fits properly and is protecting workers from hazardous, airborne agents.

The N95 Respirator Fit Testing program from IPAC Consulting uses Qualitative Respirator Fit Testing (QLFT) in accordance with OHSA requirements and CSA Z94.4-11 standards on the proper selection, care, and use of respirators.

PPE has evolved over the centuries as healthcare needs have amplified and become more perplexing especially with the pandemic still active, two years later. It is important for all facilities, irrespective of the setting, to use PPE effectually to maximize infection prevention and control standards.

To learn more about the appropriate technique for donning and doffing and N95 mask fittings, you can fill out the form below. We can perform an assessment and provide you with important resources so that your LTC home can be a safe environment.

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