In the world crisis of COVID-19, we noticed frontline operators were equipped with either gown, coverall or both during their infection control processes such as clinical assessment, safety screening or rapid diagnostic tests. As an action-led protective clothing manufacturer powered by communications, during the guiding process for users to select appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), we found out people might not understand the difference between Gown and Coverall that well. These two can be further differentiated according to global regulations, product designs and protected area coverage.
US Standard and EU Standard Comparison Chart
During the Covid-19 period, as it is an infectious human-to-human transmission disease, most inquiries were specified to AAMI PB 70 or EN 13795 for Gown, and EN ISO 13688 for Coverall with EN 14126 certification against infective agents. These criteria are classifications based on US Standard and EU Standard which listed as the following:
Specifications for Gown
A gown is intended to prevent frontal contamination only, thus the risk evaluation had to be considered when choosing a gown for infection control. It provides partial neck-to-knee protection and often has openings in the back region due to comfort concern. Ties on the abdomen are a common feature, however, if they are not properly tied or sometimes not tied at all, it has been determined that this can cause other hazards.
Please note that both AAMI PB 70 Standard and EN 13795 Standard performance tests on gown are for fabric and seam only. The test criteria requires only essential parts, including sleeves, chest and seam areas of the joint, without a whole garment test worn by a real person.
Specifications for Coverall
Coverall is designed to protect the entire body. This enables 360 degrees of protection for
frontline operators during infection control, which is particularly important when you are unsure about directions of potential environmental hazards.
For the performance tests, coverall is required to pass fabric, seam and whole garment tests. It is normally being tested by a real person doing precise movements in a test chamber to complete a liquid penetration test or particulate inward leakage examination, which is more realistic in daily scenarios.
EU Standard is the most recognized standard for coverall in worldwide. During disease infection control, you may focus on additional EN 14126 certification on fabric against infective agents, which is essential to protect frontline operators from biological hazards. A suffix “-B” will be added after wording “Type” to indicate it is “Biohazard protected”.
Owing to a lack of common criteria or study results it is hard to say when to wear a gown or coverall. The explanation of why no studies have been performed to determine gown versus coverall effectiveness is because they are entirely different items and are used in different fields.
Unless you are confident that the risk contact comes from the front chest and arms, a gown that meets performance requirements may be good enough and can therefore still be used in healthcare facilities. But when COVID-19 or other unknown aerosol transmissible diseases are encountered, we recommend that an EN 14126 certified coverall is more appropriate for frontline operators than a gown.
There are 3 solid reasons:
- Coverall provides 360 degrees of protection from head to ankle for the whole body
including the back region.
- Coverall is required to pass both fabric and whole garment tests, and a real person is used to simulate daily scenarios that are more in line with the actual situation of
- Coverall with EN 14126 certification will protect you from infective agents. The test includes protection against blood/fluids, blood-borne pathogens, aerosol, dry and wet microbial
However, it is always a smart idea to enhance personal protection for occupational safety. If there is a need for combination of other PPE, please seek final professional advice from your safety managers in consideration of your workplace risks.