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Protective Equipment

In research facilities, personal protective equipment (PPE) is used to help prevent employee exposure to hazards; this includes physical, chemical and biological hazards. Personal Protective Equipment is not a substitute for engineering controls, administrative controls or safe operating procedures, but is used in conjunction with these controls. Common examples of PPE include chemical resistant gloves, latex gloves, chemical splash goggles, safety glasses, lab coats, aprons, face shields, respirators and hearing protection, just to name a few.

How PPE is selected, cared for, and used is governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) through several federal standards. The standards most applicable to research are the Laboratory Standard (CFR 1910.1450) and the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (CFR 1910.1030). These standards include a personal protective equipment provision. Other standards that may apply to research facilities include the following:

• General Requirements (CFR 1910.132)
• Eye and Face Protection (CFR 1910.133)
• Respirator Protection (CFR 1910.134)
• Head Protection (CFR 1910.135)
• Occupational Foot Protection (CFR 1910.136)
• Electrical Protective Equipment (CFR 1910.137)
• Hand Protection (CFR 1910.138)
• Hearing Conservation (CFR 1910.95)
• Confined Space Entry (CFR 1910.120) Provision for PPE
• Lock-out / Tag-out (CFR 1910.147) Provision for PPE

Requirements for Research Facilities

Regardless of the standard or standards that apply to your facility, all areas are required to conduct a hazard assessment to identify potential hazards and determine what PPE is necessary. Once the appropriate PPE has been selected, the employer is required to purchase the PPE, provide training on the proper use and care of the PPE and document the hazard assessment and employee training.

The employee is required to wear the PPE, inspect it for damage, inform supervisors when PPE is defective or damaged, and perform proper maintenance and storage.

Personal Protective Equipment Selection

All of the PPE standards require that personal protective equipment “shall be of a safe design”, meaning all PPE shall meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) design standards. The PPE Selection Guide provides selection information (including ANSI designation), care and storage information, and information on how to use and inspect PPE.

“Safe design” also means researchers will select the most effective chemical resistant glove based on manufacturers’ chemical resistance data. The associated links provide selection guides for several glove manufacturers.

Additional Information

Do not take laboratory coats home for cleaning. You can hire a laundry service, wash them on site, or discard them.

When possible, substitute or use the least hazardous material available.

When using personal protective equipment brought from home, inform your supervisor and make sure it meets ANSI requirements.

For additional information or assistance contact your Environmental Health & Safety Representative or call EHS at 292-1284.