Infection prevention and control guidelines

1. Principles

Education and training

      1. Education and training

Last revised: 17 Jun 2024

Education and training

All staff must be educated about their role in preventing the spread of infection. Education includes teaching the principles of infection prevention and control, training to perform infection prevention and control protocols correctly, and assessing competency. Such education begins at employee orientation/induction and continues as new information becomes available (eg notification of a disease outbreak).

All staff must:

  • understand relevant infection risks and modes of transmission of common pathogens
  • know when personal protective equipment is required and what type
  • know who is responsible for ensuring that essential procedures (eg environmental cleaning) are performed and be aware of the cleaning schedule
  • know what to do if there is an accident or incident that risks exposure to infection.

All staff must be trained in the following competencies, and demonstrate competency within a reasonable time after starting their duties at the practice:

  • hand hygiene
  • respiratory hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette
  • when and how to perform the appropriate level of precautions (standard precautions and transmission-based precautions)
  • selection and use of personal protective equipment
  • aseptic technique
  • managing blood and body substance spills
  • managing blood or body substance exposure (appropriate to their role)
  • principles of environmental cleaning and reprocessing reusable medical devices (appropriate to their role)
  • where to find information on other aspects of infection prevention and control in the practice.

Training must be provided during staff induction, within three months of commencement. Until the staff member has demonstrated competency, tasks must be done under supervision, where appropriate.

The infection prevention and control coordinator should assess and record staff members’ infection prevention and control education and competency (Table 1.2. Sample staff competency record for infection prevention and control). Ongoing auditing of competences and education may also be useful to identify training needs.

Practice employers could maintain a register of staff training and task competences in infection prevention and control, appropriate to the level required by the staff member’s position.

Table 1.2. Sample staff competency record for infection prevention and control Download a sample staff competency record for infection prevention and control document

Training, knowledge and competency Staff member Competent Y/N Date checked Staff checker* Date for re-check (if applicable)
Name Job role
Hand hygiene            
Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette            
Use of appropriate personal protective equipment (including fit-checking mask)            
Fit-testing masks            
Aseptic technique            
Safe use and disposal of sharps            
Waste management            
Linen handling and laundry processes            
Transmission-based precautions            
Management of blood/other body substance spills            
Management of exposure to blood/other body substances            
Appropriate use of detergent and/or disinfectants products            
Routine environmental cleaning            
Reprocessing reusable medical devices and equipment
Pre-treatment (manual and ultrasonic)            
Cleaning (manual, automatic washer-disinfector), drying, assembly/inspection            
Loading steriliser            
Monitoring sterilisation cycle            
Unloading steriliser            
Recording cycle            

*Practice to nominate an appropriate member of staff who can sign off on staff members' competency (for example, infection prevention and control coordinator)

Sources of staff education and training in infection prevention and control include: