Communicable respiratory illness is a serious occupational threat to health-care workers. A key reason for occupational transmission is failure to use appropriate barrier precautions. Facial protective equipment, including surgical masks, respirators and eye/face protection, is the type of personal protective equipment least used by health-care workers, yet it is an important barrier precaution against communicable respiratory illness. This plenary will present the findings of a study that was undertaken to describe nurses’ adherence to recommended use of facial protective equipment and to identify the factors that influence adherence. A two-phased study was conducted.The first phase was a cross-sectional survey of nurses in selected units of six acute-care hospitals in Toronto, Ontario. The second phase was a direct observational study of critical care nurses.