Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the last line of defense between the user and the hazard encountered in the workplace. PPE is used when no other type of control is feasible to protect the user. PPE includes respiratory protection, hearing protection, eye/face protection, hand protection among others. EHS performs job hazard analyses (JHAs) to determine the required PPE for each task. Each type is described in more detail below.
Respiratory protection is used to protect the user from airborne contaminants like dusts, vapors, fumes and gases. EHS evaluates workplaces to determine if respiratory protection is necessary. Any employee that is required to use a respiratory protection must be enrolled in the Respiratory Protection Program. Details on enrollment can be found here. Voluntary use of respirators is allowed, but EHS must be notified to ensure that the user complies with all applicable regulations.
Protection of hearing is the most overlooked PPE because the effects of being exposed to excessive noise are not immediate. Regular exposure to noise over 85 decibels in the workplace requires enrollment in the Hearing Protection Program. Details on enrollment can be found here.
Whenever there is the possibility of flying debris or chemical splashes, eye or face protection is required. All eye/face protection must be ANSI Z87 compliant, thus normal prescription glasses do not qualify as eye/face protection. EHS determines whether or not eye/face protection is required in the job hazard analysis.
Hand protection is the most widely varied type of PPE. The type of hand protection used must be for the hazard that is present. If chemicals are being used, then the gloves material must be protective against the chemicals being used. EHS can assist in determining if the type of gloves that you have available is protective for your job task.
Other PPE includes head protection, foot protection, fall protection, electrical protective clothing, lab coats, protective suits alon with other more specialized PPE. Since these types of PPE are less commonly used at the university, training and information for those types of PPE is provided upon request.