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8 min read

Does Your Surgical Attire Practices Fit Regulatory Requirements?

In highly specialized and sterile environments, including semi-restrictive and restricted areas of the facility, such as the operating room (OR) or a procedure room, every detail is meticulously planned, including the attire worn by the surgical team. The primary goal of operating room attire is to minimize the risk of postoperative infections in patients. Scrub attire, often referred to as "scrubs," serves multiple purposes: it signifies the wearer's role, maintains a sterile environment, and provides comfort during long procedures. This article delves into the significance and protocols surrounding operating room attire, shedding light on why it's more than just clothing.


The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) recommends that personnel entering the semi-restricted and restricted areas of the surgical/procedural suite should wear clean scrubs laundered in a healthcare-accredited laundry facility in accordance with facility policy. Personnel should don clean scrubs daily. Generally, per industry standards of practice, it is recommended that operating staff change from street clothes into scrubs once they arrive at work and remove them before leaving the facility at the end of the day.


QUAD A standards do not specify how facilities handle scrubs. The facility must have a policy that describes the practice based on state requirements and nationally accepted guidelines.  However, keep in mind, per OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standards, if the employee’s scrubs become soiled with blood or other potentially infectious materials while working, the employer is required to clean this attire at no cost to the employee.


State Public Health Departments may have requirements regarding scrub attire.  Some states require ambulatory surgery facilities to provide facility-laundered scrubs for healthcare workers working in restricted or semi-restricted areas.  Please verify with your State Public Health Departments if there are any requirements. You may consider performing an infection control risk assessment to determine best practices based on the types of procedures performed in your facility.  


Below are some additional resources that may be helpful:    


If you have any further questions, please feel free to submit them to standards@QuadA.org.      

Since 1980, QUAD A (a non-profit, physician-founded and led global accreditation organization) has worked with thousands of healthcare facilities to standardize and improve the quality of healthcare they provide – believing that patient safety should always come first.