ASTM WK38455

    New Specification for Healthcare Worker Protective Uniforms

    (What is a Work Item?)

    Developed by Subcommittee: F23.40 | Committee F23 | Contact Staff Manager


    1. Scope

    1.1 This specification establishes requirements for the performance, documentation, and labeling of protective uniforms worn by healthcare workers. NOTE 1Minimum performance requirements are established for some test requirements while the results of other tests are reported for documentation only. 1.2.3 This specification does not cover all of the requirements that healthcare workers or a facility may deem necessary to select a product, nor does it address criteria for evaluating experimental products. 1.2.4 This specification is not intended to serve as a detailed manufacturing or purchasing specification, but can be referenced in purchasing specifications as the basis for selecting test requirements. 1.2.5 The values stated in SI units or in other units shall be regarded separately as standard. The values stated in each system must be used independently of the other, without combining values in any way.

    Healthcare worker uniforms, including scrubs, lab coats, smocks, pants, skirts and shirts, are worn by the healthcare workforce as non- protective apparel. These uniforms provide minimal protection to the wearer and may act as a repository for spread of bacterial contamination during both patient care and other occupational healthcare services. Healthcare worker protective uniforms are uniforms designed for continuous wear to provide protection to healthcare workers in occupational activities and settings where intermittent or unexpected exposure to blood, body fluids and other potentially infectious material (OPIM) can occur or settings where there is a risk of infection transmission. These uniforms are in addition to conventional healthcare protective clothing (such as surgical gowns or isolation gowns) which is worn for specific use circumstances and during episodes of expected blood, body fluid and OPIM exposure. Nevertheless, healthcare worker uniforms and protective uniforms are intended to be worn in conjunction with personal protective equipment (PPE) when appropriate and are not intended to replace any form of PPE that is required.1 Healthcare workers can be exposed to pathogenic microorganisms and biological fluids capable of transmitting disease and may become colonized and / or infected.2-5 Non-protective healthcare worker uniforms have been shown to rapidly acquire and retain these microorganisms during a work shift.6-10 These microorganisms include Acinetobacter spp, Enterobacteriacee(e.g., E.coli, K. pneumoniae), Enterococcus spp., Staphylococcus spp., and multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs), that may pose a significant risk to life and health. As healthcare delivery has extended to alternative sites and MDROs have become more prevalent in community settings, attention is placed on methods to reduce the potential exposure of healthcare workers and patients to microorganisms, body fluids, and OPIM which can be found on healthcare worker uniforms.6, 10-13 This specification addresses protective uniforms designed for continuous wear to protect healthcare workers in occupational activities and locations in which intermittent exposure to blood, body fluids and OPIM can occur or settings with risk of infection transmission. Specific performance criteria are established for protective uniform materials in terms of their liquid penetration resistance, liquid repellency, bacterial decontamination, and antimicrobial leaching 6, 10,11,14,15 Additional requirements pertain to the innocuousness and flammability of materials and for the documentation of comfort properties. This specification establishes standardized testing methods and reporting requirements for manufacturers in order to provide information to end-users that can be used in making informed decisions in the selection and purchase of protective uniforms according to the anticipated exposures and risks. This information is also useful for helping end users comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations Bloodborne Pathogen Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) and other infection prevention regulations, guidelines and standards.6,14,16


    protective uniforms, liquid penetration resistance, liquid repellency; bacterial decontamination; antimicrobial leaching resistance; healthcare worker; healthcare uniform; physical properties; protective clothing

    The title and scope are in draft form and are under development within this ASTM Committee.

    Citing ASTM Standards
    Back to Top
    Work Item Status

    Date Initiated:

    Technical Contact:
    Ben Favret


    F23 (15-02)

    Negative Votes Need Resolution