Workwear consist of top, trousers or a dress. Workwear must have short sleeves above the elbow. All health and social care staff must wear a short-sleeved top/dress during examination, care and treatment. Short sleeves are a prerequisite for performing hand hygiene correctly. Long sleeves may spread infections and can impede appropriate hand hygiene.


  • Must only be worn at work. If work is carried out in multiple locations then work clothing may be worn when travelling between sites.
  • Must be changed daily and as soon as possible if contaminated or dirty.
  • Is washed in a controlled and quality assured  process at a minimum temperature of 60˚C.
  • Is handled and stored in a way that prevents contamination.


Long hair and beard must be pinned up ensuring it does not hang or fall down. If a headscarf is worn it must be clean, secured safely and loose fabric must be tucked into the neck opening of work clothing.

Headwear is required at some workplaces such as operating departments, sterile services departments or commercial kitchens.

Jewellery, nails and bandages

  • Rings, bracelets and wristwatches must not be worn.
  • Nails must be kept short.
  • Artificial nails or nail varnish must not be worn.
  • Hands and lower arms must be free from bandages, dressings, supports or equivalent.

Satisfactory hand disinfection cannot be performed if the above is not met. This is because infectious agents adhere to artificial materials and cannot be removed by disinfectants.

Earrings and other jewellery in healed piercings may be worn as long as they do not interfere with the work task. A healed piercing, regardless of its location, does not pose a risk of transmitting infection. An infected piercing can act as a source of infection and be transmitted by staff hands.

Moisturizing cream is applied during break times or at the end of the shift to prevent dry and chapped hands.

In some workplaces such as operating departments, sterile services departments and commercial kitchens there may be rules in addition to the above.

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