Objective: To compile current regulations and advisory recommendations on cleanliness of worker clothing and personal protective equipment and to evaluate the adequacy of criteria for determining whether cleanliness has been achieved.
Methods: Systematic review of information provided by federal agencies (eg, OSHA, MSHA, and NIOSH), nongovernmental advisory bodies (eg, ACGIH, AIHA, and ANSI), and manufacturers of protective clothing and equipment.
Results: We identified an array of terms describing “cleanliness” and the processes for achieving “cleanliness” that were almost never defined in regulations and recommendations. We also found a general lack of criteria for determining whether cleanliness and/or sterility have been achieved.
Conclusions: There is need to harmonize cleanliness-related terminology, establish best practices for equipment cleaning and sterilization, implement a signage systems to provide equipment-specific cleaning instructions, and adopt objective criteria for determining what is “clean.”