Personal Protective Equipment

Purpose and Scope

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection. The hazards addressed by protective equipment include, but are not limited to physical, electrical, heat, chemicals, biohazards, and airborne particuate matter.  “Protective clothing” is applied to traditional categories of clothing, and “protective gear” applies to items such as pads, guards, shields, or masks, and others. 

Based on the hierarchy  of controls, PPE is a last resort after engineering and administrative controls.  PPE alone should not be relied upon to provide protection against hazards but should be in conjunction with engineering, administrative, and procedural controls.  Personal protective equipment is required under 29CFR 1910.132 Subpart I.  

Other federal agencies that govern the use of PPE in the workplace include, but are limited to:

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

Types of PPE

Laboratory PPE

PPE must be worn in the laboratory when working with certain hazards. These hazards include, but are not limited to:

  • Chemical
  • Biological
  • Physical
  • Radiological

In the laboratory this PPE must include:

  • Lab Coats: aprons, scrubs, coveralls, etc.
  • Safety Glasses or Goggles
  • Gloves resistant to the materials used
  • Appropriate footwear (closed at the heal and toe)

Sandals must not be worn when working in the lab or shop. Other protective equipment, such as splash goggles, face shields, aprons, thermal or cut-resistant gloves, hearing protection, or respirators, must be worn when conditions dictate.

Electrical Protection Devices

Electrical protective devices (rubber insulated gloves, sleeves, matting, blankets, covers, and line hoses) shall be provided to Bates College employees when working with high voltage electrical devices. Use of these devices at Bates College will be governed by the requirements outlined in the OSHA Electrical Protective Devices Standards 29 CFR 1910. 137.

Eye and Face Protection

Appropriate eye and face protection shall be provided to Bates College employees when exposed to eye or face hazards from the following:

  • Flying particles
  • Molten metal
  • Liquid chemicals
  • Acids or caustic liquids
  • Chemical gases or vapors
  • Potentially injurious light radiation

Use of eye and face protection at Bates College will be governed by the requirements outlined in the OSHA Eye and Face Protection Standards, 29 CFR 1910.133. All eye and face protection must be approved by the most current American National Standards Institute, ANSI Standards Z87.1.

Safety Glasses

Safety glasses with side shields, including detachable, self-locking, or slide-on shields, are required where there is a potential exposure to eye hazards. Operations requiring safety glasses include but are not limited to:

  • Grinding or use of abrasive wheels
  • Chiseling
  • Use of power saw
  • Use of staple guns
  • Use of power tools (drill, sander, etc. )
  • Machining
  • Other similar type operations

Safety Goggles

Safety goggles are required in chemical handling and operations where there is a potential for chemical fumes, splashes, mists, sprays, or dust exposure to the eyes.

Contact Lenses

Contact lenses do not provide eye protection and may entrap objects and chemicals. Therefore, if they are worn in hazardous environments, they must be used in conjunction with appropriate protective eyewear.

Foot Protection

Appropriate protective footwear shall be provided to Bates College employees when exposed to hazards caused by:

  • Falling or rolling objects
  • Objects piercing the sole
  • Electrical shock hazards
  • Chemical hazards
  • Slip hazards

Use of foot protection devices shall be governed by the requirements outlined in OSHA Occupational Foot Protection Standards, 29 CFR 1910.136. Safety shoes with protective toe caps and steel shanks in the sole must be approved by the most current American National Standards Institute, ANSI Standard Z41. Footwear used for chemical resistance must be constructed of elastomers resistant to the chemical used.

Hand Protection

Appropriate hand protection shall be provided to Bates College employees when exposed to hazards of the hand, such as:

  • Skin absorption harmful substances
  • Severe cuts or lacerations
  • Severe abrasions
  • Punctures
  • Chemical burns
  • Thermal burns
  • Temperature extremes

Use of hand protection at Bates College shall be governed by the requirements outlined in OSHA Hand Protection Standards, 29 CFR 1910.138.

Selection of appropriate hand protection shall be based on the hazards identified, levels of protection needed, duration of use, dexterity required and fit.

Elastomeric gloves used for chemical resistance must be constructed of elastomers resistant to the chemical use.

Head Protection

Appropriate head protection shall be provided to Bates College employees when working in areas where head injuries could occur from:

  • Falling objects
  • Contact with stationary objects
  • Contact with electrical shock hazards.

Use of head protection at Bates College shall be governed by the requirements outlined in 29 CFR 1910.135. All protective helmets must be approved by the most current American National Standards Institute, ANSI standard Z89.1.

Hearing Protection

Hearing protection shall be made available to Bates College employees exposed to noise levels of 85 decibels or greater. Hearing protection must be worn by employees exposed to noise levels of 90 decibels or greater.

Use of hearing protective devices at Bates College shall be governed by the requirements outlined in OSHA Occupational Noise Exposure Standard, 29 CFR 1910,95.

All hearing protection devices, ear muffs and/or ear plugs, used at Bates College must have an EPA Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) shown on the packaging. Hearing protectors must attenuate employee exposure to an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels or less.

Body Protection

Body protection shall be provided to Bates College to prevent skin exposure to harmful contaminants, such as:

  • Dusts
  • Fogs
  • Fumes
  • Mists
  • Gases
  • Smokes
  • Sprays, or
  • Vapors

Body protection shall limit contamination of “street clothing”, and aid in any decontamination process. Selection of appropriate body protection must be bases on the hazards identified, parts of the body affected, level of protection needed, duration use and fit.

Respiratory Protection

Respiratory protection shall be assigned to Bates College employees when exposed to contaminated breathing air that could cause occupational diseases from:

  • Harmful Dusts
  • Fogs or Mists
  • Fumes / Sprays / Vapor
  • Gases or Smokes

Use of respiratory protection at Bates College shall be governed by the requirements outlined in the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard 29 CFR 1910.134.

On an annual basis, all users of respiratory protection must be medically approved by a certified and licensed occupational medicine physician through Bates EHS and Human Resources.

All respiratory equipment must be approved by Bates EHS and certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Employee Responsibilites

Bates EHS

  • Development and maintenance of the Bates College PPE guidelines, procedures, and associated forms and assessments.
  • Consultation and assistance to departments on the types of PPE to be used.
  • Provide and coordinate training to affected personnel.
  • Annual review of the PPE guidelines, assessments, and forms.

Managers, Supervisors and PIs

  • Develop and implement specific procedures so that PPE assessments may be conducted.
  • Inform those you supervise on the procedures and types of PPE to be worn.
  • Ensure PPE is located in a designated location away from operations that may incur damage to the PPE.
  • Ensure PPE is clean and in good operating condition before being used by employees.
  • Ensure training is completed for those employees whose work will require PPE.

Staff and Students

  • Understand PPE and it’s use.
  • Wear PPE when required.
  • Inform Supervisors of any deficiencies.
  • Clean and maintain PPE in good operating condition.

Hazard Assessment Instructions

Step 1: Inform the Employee of the Process

Affected employees from each work area that is being assessed should be involved in the process. Discus the reason for the survey and the procedures being used for the assessment. Review the job procedures, potential hazards, and the PPE currently in use.

Step 2: Review Data

Reports of work-related injuries or illnesses, near-miss events, and reported safety concerns are sources of data that can provide helpful information for assessing hazards.

Step 3: Conduct a Walk-Thru Survey

The purpose of the survey is to identify sources of hazards to employees. Observe the following:

  • Workplace layout
  • Locations of employees
  • Work operations
  • Current hazards
  • Current use of PPE

Using the form, check the type of hazard(s) present within each section (organized by body part). Further description can be provided in the adjacent box. Consideration should be given to the following basic hazard categories:

  • Impact: falling or flying objects
  • Penetration: sharp objects penetrating any body part
  • Compression: objects that can roll-over or pinch
  • Chemical Exposure: inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, eye contact, or injection
  • Temperature Extremes: either hot or cold
  • Dust or Flying Debris: grinding, chipping, sanding, blowing, etc.
  • Fall: slip or trip, scaffolds, and elevated work
  • Radiation (Non-Ionizing): ultraviolet (UV) light, infrared (IR) light, welding, brazing, cutting, furnaces, and thermal
  • Noise: mechanical rooms, machines, cage washing, jackhammers, etc.
  • Electrical: shock, short circuit, and arcing static

Step 4: Select the PPE

After considering and/or planning for other controls, select the PPE which provides at least the minimum level of protection required to protect employees from the hazards. Using the form, note the appropriate PPE in the required PPE box.

Step 5: Make Document Accessible

Once completed, signed, and dated, store the form either electronically or as a hard copy in a location easily accessible to employees and inspectors. Bates EHS should be sent a copy or the original for permanent record retention.

Step 6: Re-assess and Revise Protocol

Update departmental protocols with new or modified PPE when applicable. Reasons for updating protocols could include:

  • Annual review of procedures
  • New equipment added to space
  • Injury report provides more data
  • Engineering controls change
  • Administrative controls change

N95 Particulate Respirators

Bates College provides N95 Particulate Respirators (dust masks) for voluntary use by employees for comfort reasons. Employees who choose to wear N95 respirators must sign Form “Appendix D of 29 CFR 1910.134 – Information for Employees Using Respirators When Not Required Under the Standard”.

N95 Particulate Respirators are used for solid or non-oil based particles. They are NOT to be used for:

  • Paint spray
  • Oil aerosols
  • Gases and vapors
  • Asbestos
  • Sandblasting
  • Lead

Check with your Supervisor or Bates EHS for assistance with selection of N95 Particulate Respirators.


  • These respirators do not supply oxygen. They are not for use in atmospheres containing less than 19.5% oxygen or poorly ventilated spaces such as confined spaces.
  • Not for use in atmospheres immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH).
  • No for use where the hazard’s exposure level exceeds your respirator’s protection level for the substance.

Proper Fit


  1. Position the respirator under your chin with the nosepiece up. Pull the strap over your head resting it high at the top of the back of your head. Pull the bottom strap over your hand and position it around the neck and below the ears.
  2. Place your fingertips from both hands at the top of the metal nosepiece. Using both hands, mold the nose area to the shape of your nose by pushing inwards while moving your fingertips down both sides of the nosepiece.
  3. Perform a user seal check prior to each wearing. To check fit, cup both hands over the respirator and exhale vigorously. If air flows around your nose, tighten the nosepiece. If air leaks around the edges, reposition the straps for a better fit.


  • Always wear both sets of head straps.
  • Make sure the respirator stays in place, even when you turn your head side to side.
  • Facial hair and certain facial characteristics may prohibit effective use of the product.
  • Leave your work area if breathing becomes difficult or dizziness or other signs of distress.


When a disposable respirator loses its ability to protect you, throw it away. It’s time for a new respirator when any of the following occur:

  • The filter gets clogged or damaged.
  • The straps lose their elasticity.
  • The facepiece tears.