Evaluation of health worker acceptance and tolerance of respirators in clinical practice – An Australian Perspective.

Publication date: Jul 14, 2023

One of the main infection prevention and control measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic was the focused application of respiratory protection to ensure health worker safety and effective use of personal protective equipment. However, user acceptance of these strategies is paramount in sustainable compliance. This study explores various aspects of respirator use and provides recommendations to improve and maximise health worker safety. The aim of this study was to understand the relationship between respirator (P2/N95) comfort and user experience towards respiratory protection. Non- experimental cross-sectional design study was conducted in New South Wales, Australia between November-December 2022 using an anonymous self-administered online questionnaire in Microsoft Forms. Of 2514 respondents, 65% reported to have used a respirator every working day with only a few using a respirator once weekly or less (9%). Almost all respondents had completed at least one quantitative fit test (96%) prior to the survey. Fifty-nine percent reported to have experienced discomfort from wearing a respirator and the most reported adverse effect was difficulty communicating (64%), followed by skin irritation or acne (62%) and headache (56%). Despite somewhat less favorable ratings on comfort and communication, health workers are in favor of respiratory protection. However, focus on tolerance of respirators and strategies to address adverse effects from prolonged respirator use must be considered when implementing policies and procedures. Moreover, resources must be allocated to improve the design, breathability, and sustainability of a respirator along with education and training on how to use respiratory protection safely and effectively.

Concepts Keywords
Australia adverse effect
Headache fit testing
Microsoft health worker comfort
Respirator P2/N95 respirator
Weekly respirator
Respiratory protection


Type Source Name
disease MESH infection
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
disease VO effective
disease MESH acne

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