PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

1.    General Policy
2.    Eye and Face Protection
3.    Head Protection
4.    Foot Protection
5.    Hand Protection
6.    Respiratory Protection

General Policy

Most personal protective clothing and equipment is provided by the University of the Sciences to employees when and where necessary. It is the supervisor's or director's responsibility to evaluate their work areas and tasks and assess the need for specific personal protective equipment. This assessment must be documented through the use of the PPE Hazard Assessment Form, as required by OSHA. In addition, supervisors shall provide training on its use and be certain that all personal protective equipment and clothing is available, in working order, and is used. Contact EHRS if help is needed with the assessment, selection or training.  

Also, each employee is responsible for wearing the appropriate equipment when necessary.

Carefully inspect all protective equipment before using.   Do not use defective protective equipment. If you have questions regarding the selection of appropriate personal protective equipment, call the EHRS Department.  (X8925)

Eye and Face Protection

Eye and face protection must be worn whenever its use will reduce or eliminate injury. The need for adequate eye protection is fundamental to the use of chemicals, including housekeeping materials such as wax strippers, detergent and toilet bowl cleaners, and operations such as grinding, drilling and sawing with power tools. Eye protection (and at times face protection) is required wherever the potential for eye injury exists. Eye protection must be worn whenever any employee, student or visitor is engaged in, or within the area of danger created by the use of; hazardous chemicals (including gases and vapors), corrosive materials, hot liquids, solids or gases, molten metal, injurious light radiation and activities that may create flying particles or an explosion or implosion hazard. No personnel may enter laboratories or other areas where the above situations exist, or automated processes are in operation, without eye protection.

Ordinary (street) prescription glasses do not provide adequate protection. (Contrary to popular opinion, these glasses can not pass the rigorous test for industrial safety glasses). Eye protection worn must meet the requirements of the American Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection (ANSI Z.87.1 2003).

Safety glasses must be used whenever there is a danger of getting something in the eye. They must be equipped with side shields. Safety glasses with side shields do not provide adequate protection from splashes. Therefore, when the potential for a splash hazard exists, other eye protection and/or face protection must be worn.

Splash goggles (chemical splash goggles with indirect ventilation holes) with splash proof sides must be used whenever the danger of a chemical splash exists, when working with corrosives, when heating chemicals, when working with harmful substances or if it is unknown if the substances are harmful to the eyes.

Goggles with face shields should be used when more protection is needed. Face shields provide protection to the face and neck. Example: explosion or implosion (pressure or vacuum) hazard, when transferring cryogenic liquids, and when working with large volumes.

Special eye protection is available for protection against: lasers ultraviolet (UV) welding, and brazing, or intense light sources.

Supervisors and directors are responsible for determining the type(s) of eye and/or face protection necessary, providing training on proper use, and for requiring its use. Use the attached chart or contact EHRS for help in determining the appropriate type of protection.

Eye protection must be made available to employees, students and visitors when the potential for eye injury exists.

If you have any questions regarding the selection of appropriate face protection call the EHRS Department at X8925.

Head Protection

OSHA standards require that employees working in areas where there is a possible danger of injury to the head from impact, or from falling or flying objects, or from electrical shock, that they shall be protected by an approved-type protective helmet.

Protective helmets (hard hats) shall comply with the design specifications of the current ANSI Z89.1 & Z89.2.standards. Protective helmets shall bear a manufacturer’s label indicating design compliance with the appropriate ANSI standard.

Helmets usually provide limited protection. They reduce the effect of the force of falling objects, which strike the top of the shell.

Never alter or modify the shell or suspension system except in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

Avoid contact with live wires.

Do not place or carry objects between the suspension and shell, or between the suspension and your head. This space is needed when the shell/suspension absorbs the force of an impact.

The helmet should be worn square on the head, not tipped forward, backward, or to either side.

Materials such as solvents, chemicals, adhesives, or gasoline should not be used on your helmet and it should not be painted. These materials could reduce impact resistance, which may not be readily detectable by the wearer.

Inspect your helmet and its suspension everytime you wear it.

Examine the helmet for cracks, brittleness, discoloration or chalky appearance. Any of these conditions indicate a loss of impact resistance, and the helmet should be replaced.

Check for pliability of the suspension. Examine for cracks, breaks, or frayed straps.

If you detect any sign of wear or damage, replace the suspension and/or the shell.

Keep the helmet clean using mild soap and warm water.

Foot Protection

Safety shoes are recommended to prevent injury to the feet from falling and rolling objects, objects piercing the sole, and where employees feet are exposed to electrical hazards. Appropriate footwear with good traction should be worn for wet or slippery areas. In addition, work in chemical operations such as clean-up, spill handling or continually wet areas also require foot protection.

Protective footwear must meet with the requirements of ANSI Z41 - 1991.

Even if you are working in an area or on a job with none of the above hazards, your feet still need some protection. A sturdy shoe with low heels and non-skid soles should be worn. That also means no open-toed shoes or sandals. (Especially when working in a laboratory or with chemicals and tools in a shop area).

Another important part of foot safety is that the footwear fit properly.

See Protective Footwear Policy.

If anyone needs information on what type of foot protection is appropriate, please contact the EHRS Department.

Hand Protection

Because the hands play a role in virtually every task, they are usually taken for granted and not protected as well as they should be. Yet their distinctive characteristics - strength, flexibility, sensitivity, and coordination - are vital, and hand protection and safety should be a major concern for both employer and worker. Fortunately, almost all hand and finger injuries can be prevented.

There are many different kinds of hand and finger injuries, but most are either traumatic injuries, contact injuries, or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Traumatic injuries to the hands and fingers include cuts, fractures, punctures, and, in the worst cases, amputations.

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Cuts, also known as lacerations, become especially serious when they go through the skin and sever nerves or tendons, or when other materials get into the wound and infect it.
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Punctures can be caused by anything from a splinter to a tool.  A puncture can go right through the skin to tendons, ligaments, and muscle tissue, and can easily get infected.
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Fractures, or broken bones.

Contact injuries are usually skin diseases or burns. They result from direct contact with chemicals, detergents or metals, or from contact with very hot or cold objects.

Dermatitis, or skin disease, is one of the most common occupational problems. It can show up immediately after contact with a chemical. The skin becomes red, swollen, itchy, or burning, or may develop bumps, blisters, etc. Dermatitis is often simply irritating, but bad cases can be uncomfortable enough to keep a person out of work.

Dermatitis can also develop after several contacts with chemicals known as sensitizers. While nothing happens initially, later contacts with the chemical produce an allergic reaction such as a rash.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that results from prolonged repetitive work with the hands. This condition can be permanently disabling and can have a variety of more temporary symptoms like swelling, tingling, numbness, and pain in the hands or fingers.

Engineering controls, such as machine guards, are usually the first step in preventing hand and finger injuries, particularly those that result from improper use of tools and machinery or careless material handling. Many injuries occur at the point of operation on a machine or tool.

Protective Gloves

Wearing gloves is an effective defense against hand and finger injuries. However, it is important to emphasize that gloves can be a hazard if worn around moving machinery such as drill presses, mills, lathes, grinders, etc. If they get caught in the machine, the hand does, too!

OSHA requires employers to provide - and require employees to use - gloves when there is a risk of harmful substances, chemical or thermal burns, extreme temperatures, or severe cuts, lacerations, abrasions, or punctures OSHA Regulation 29 CFR 1910.138. No glove can provide protection from all these hazards, so proper selection, cleaning, and maintenance is a must. Here is a list of possible hand hazards, and the usual glove material of choice for each.

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Heat or cold usually calls for insulated gloves.   Anyone who works around open flames should have gloves made of a fire-retardant fabric.  If the hazard is radiant heat, the fabric should be reflective.   Leather is effective against hot surfaces, and cotton or other fabrics may be adequate for moderate heat or cold.
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Electricity requires special rubber gloves with insulated liners.  Do not use gloves designed for chemical protection, as they are not good for electrical hazards.
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Sharp objects should be handled only by people wearing cut-resistant gloves, often made of a metal mesh.
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Rough surfaces call for leather gloves.
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Corrosives need gloves made of neoprene or nitrile rubber.
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Slippery objects should be handled by workers wearing gloves made of cotton or other fabrics.
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Chemicals pose a variety of hazards, and the correct glove is critical.  You have to select a glove made of a material that truly offers protection against the chemical in question and, equally important, a material that won't react in a dangerous way with that chemical.  Gloves worn to protect against chemicals also require care in use and maintenance.

Gloves should be carefully selected using guides from the manufacturers. General selection guides are available; however, glove resistance to chemicals will vary with the manufacturer, model and thickness. Therefore, review a glove-resistance chart from the manufacturer you intend to buy from, before purchasing gloves.

Safety Tips When Using Gloves

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Wear only clean gloves with no rips or holes.
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Rinse gloves thoroughly to remove chemicals before taking them off.
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Clean gloves thoroughly before putting them away so that there is no buildup of chemical residue.
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Store gloves in a cool, dark, dry place.
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Do not store chemical gloves turned inside out, or you could trap chemicals and vapors that would cause them to deteriorate.
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Do not store chemical gloves with the cuff folded over.  This weakens the material and makes it more likely to tear.
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Do not use gloves that have swelled from exposure to solvents until the swelling has gone away.
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Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water or a skin cleanser after working with chemicals, even though you have been wearing gloves.
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Do not clean hands with solvents or industrial detergents.  They can cause their own skin problems. 

If anyone needs information on what type of hand protection is appropriate, please contact the EHRS Department.

RESPIRATORY PROTECTION

While most operations at the University do not involve harmful concentrations of air contaminants, there are some operations which may require the use of respiratory protection. If your work requires the use of a respirator, you must receive special training and fit-testing from EHRS or from your supervisor who has been properly trained by EHRS.

The employer must provide approved respiratory protection (not surgical masks, which do not provide respiratory protection) when the air is contaminated with excessive concentrations of harmful dusts, fumes, mists, gases, vapors, or microorganisms. Respiratory protection may be used as a control only when engineering or administrative controls are not feasible or while these controls are being developed or installed. (Examples of engineering or administrative controls include working in a hood, substitution of a less hazardous chemical or process, purchasing pre-weighed quantities or a solution rather than powder, job rotation, etc.)

Respirators are designed to protect only against specific types of substances and in certain concentration ranges, depending on the type of equipment used. Never use a respirator unless you have been assigned one and have been trained and fit-tested.

Respirator selection is based on the hazard and the protection factor required.

Types of respiratory protective equipment include:

  • Disposable Particulate (N95)/HEPA (N100) Respirators
  • Air-Purifying Cartridge Respirator
  • Air Supplied Respirators

You should familiarize yourself with the limitations of each type of respiratory protective equipment used and the signals for respirator failure. (odor breakthrough, filter clogging, etc.)

Respirators are not to be used except in conjunction with a written respiratory protection program according to OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910-134.

See EHRS's Respiratory Protection Program.

See personal protective equipment and clothing in the Laboratory Safety Manual (Chemical Hygiene Plan).


University of the Sciences in Philadelphia • 600 South Forty-third Street • Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495 • phone: 215-596-8800 • email: safety@usip.edu