Standard precautions are the minimum infection prevention and control practices that must always be used.

Standard precautions are based on a risk assessment and common sense practices such as the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), good hand hygiene and safe coughing/sneezing etiquette.

Transmission-based precautions are the second tier of basic infection control and are used when standard precautions alone are not enough to prevent the spread of infection.

Transmission-based precautions include practices such as limiting the movement of a patient to what is strictly medically necessary, having the patient wear a mask or immunising susceptible people as soon as possible following unprotected contact with a vaccine-preventable infection.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) website contains comprehensive information on standard precautions including:

  • perform hand hygiene
  • use personal protective equipment (PPE) whenever there is an expectation of possible exposure to infectious material
  • follow respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette principles
  • ensure appropriate patient placement
  • properly handle and properly clean and disinfect patient care equipment and instruments/devices
  • handle textiles and laundry carefully
  • follow safe injection practices
  • ensure health care worker safety including proper handling of needles and other sharps.

The Commission runs a hand hygiene programme. More information is available here:

Comprehensive information about personal protective equipment use in health and disability care settings is available on the Ministry of Health’s website.

Last updated 25/02/2021