PPE COVID-19 Mask, gloves, protection glasses for healthcare workers. Shortage of personal protective equipment for coronavirus.

Employees whose place of employment fails to institute proper cleaning protocols and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) are more likely to experience anxiety and depression, according to a recent study.

The Institute for Work and Health in Toronto and the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario teamed up to survey nearly 6,000 health care professionals and 3,500 non-health care workers this past spring to study the impact the lack of protection can have, reports Safety + Health Magazine. More than half of those workers surveyed demonstrated anxiety symptoms and 42 percent showed signs of depression when asked about the need for various types of PPE and infection control practices. When questioned on what protections they were being provided, less than 20 percent of those surveyed said they had all of the PPE they need or that infection control was being handled as much as they need it to be at their place of employment.

The study classified PPE items as being gloves, eye protection, face shields, gowns, hand sanitizer surgical masks, N95 respirators and powered air-purifying respirators.

Perhaps the most important metric in the survey is the difference in generalized anxiety disorder symptoms among workers who had all their PPE needs met and those that did not. The study found that 43 percent of those who had been supplied enough PPE had a general anxiety disorder score of three or higher on six point scale. Any score three or above suggests general anxiety disorder. The study then showed that 60 percent of workers who felt none of their PPE needs were met demonstrated symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.

A entire study was published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry and can be viewed here.