18.1 Introduction

The following sections provide general guidelines and requirements for using personal protective equipment. This chapter covers the following topics:

18.2 Definitions

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) includes all clothing and work accessories designed to protect employees from work place hazards. Protective equipment should not replace engineering, administrative, or procedural controls for safety---it should be used in conjunction with these controls. Employees must wear protective equipment as required and when instructed by a supervisor.

It is the responsibility of the Supervisor to ensure their employees are not under protected or over protected. It is also the supervisor's responsibility to ensure the level of proper protection is documented. This can be done by using the form at PPE Certification Form (LINK) or any other suitable form.

IMPORTANT: Always remove protective clothing before leaving the work area. Do not wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in public elevators, classrooms, restrooms, break rooms, etc.

18.3 Arm and Hand Protection

Arms and hands are vulnerable to cuts, burns, bruises, electrical shock, chemical spills, and amputation. Gloves provide protection for the hands and arms from chemicals, temperature extremes, and abrasion. Their proper selection is vital to their ability to protect. This is especially true when dealing with potential exposure to chemicals. It is imperative to remember that both the thickness and the type of material the glove is manufactured from affect the ability to serve as a barrier against a chemical. Specifications regarding compatibility of gloves materials with chemicals is available from the Safety Office.

Another factor in the selection of gloves is the wearer's need for dexterity. It is often advisable to reduce the size and thickness of the glove to increase the dexterity. Caution is also required when using gloves around moving equipment. Gloves should not be used by anyone whose hands are exposed to moving parts in which their hands could get caught.

The following is a general list of the types of gloves available:

NOTE: Latex gloves are not chemical resistant.

Always wear the appropriate hand and arm protection. Double your hand protection by wearing multiple gloves when necessary (e.g., two pairs of disposable gloves for work involving biological hazards). For arm protection, wear a long-sleeved shirt, a laboratory coat, chemical-resistant sleeves or gauntlet-length gloves.

Follow these guidelines to ensure arm and hand safety.

1. Inspect and test new gloves for defects.

2. Always wash your hands before and after using gloves. Wash chemical-protective gloves with soap and water before removing them.

3. Do not wear gloves near moving machinery.

4. Do not wear gloves with metal parts near electrical equipment.

IMPORTANT: Gloves are easily contaminated. Avoid touching surfaces such as telephones, door knobs, etc. when wearing gloves.

18.4 Body Protection

Hazards that threaten the torso tend to threaten the entire body. A variety of protective clothing, including laboratory coats, long pants, rubber aprons, coveralls, and disposable body suits are available for specific work conditions.

Never take home contaminated clothing. It can be laundered on campus. Launder reusable protective clothing separate from other clothing.

18.5 Hearing Protection

If you work in a high noise area, wear hearing protection. Most hearing protection devices have an assigned rating that indicates the amount of protection provided. Depending on your level of exposure, you may choose from the following devices:

Earplugs may be better in hot, humid, or confined work areas. They may also be better for employees who wear other PPE, such as safety glasses or hats. Earmuffs, on the other hand, may be better for employees who move in and out of noisy areas, because the muffs are easier to remove. Before resorting to hearing protection, attempt to control noise levels through engineering or operational changes.

To avoid contamination, follow these guidelines when using earplugs.

1. Wash your hands before inserting earplugs.

2. Replace disposable earplugs after each use.

3. Clean reusable earplugs after each use.

Contact the Safety Office to have your specific area evaluated for hearing protection needs or for more information.

18.6 Eye and Face Protection

Employees must wear protection if hazards exist that could cause eye or face injury. Eye and face protection should be used in conjunction with equipment guards, engineering controls and safe practices.

NOTE: Safety glasses or goggles are required in laboratories.

Always wear adequate eye and face protection when performing tasks such as grinding, buffing, welding, chipping, cutting, or pouring chemicals. Safety glasses with side shields provide protection against impact and splashes, but safety goggles provide protection against impact, splashes and hazardous atmospheres. All safety glasses must be ANSI Z87 certified.

18.6.1 Safety Glasses: If you wear prescription glasses, wear goggles or other safety protection over the glasses. Safety glasses with side shields provide primary protection to eyes and are four times as resistant as prescription glasses to impact injuries.

18.6.2 Goggles: Goggles protect against impacts, sparks, chemical splashes, dust, and irritating mist. Wear full goggles, not just safety glasses, when working with chemicals.

18.6.3 Welding: Eyecup welding goggles with filter lenses give protection from glare and sparks.

A welding helmet protects from flash burn due to welding, soldering, or brazing, but does not provide primary eye protection; safety glasses or goggles should be worn with the helmet.

Face shields: A face shield is designed to protect the face from some splashes or projectiles, but does not eliminate exposure to vapors. A face shield should be worn with goggles or safety glasses. See Section 17 (Shop Safety) for more information.

Sunglasses are useful to prevent eyestrain from glare and to minimize ultraviolet light exposure.

18.7 Foot Protection

To protect feet and legs from falling objects, moving machinery, sharp objects, hot materials, chemicals or slippery surfaces, employees should wear closed-toed shoes, boots, footguards, leggings or safety shoes, as appropriate. Safety shoes are designed to protect from the most common causes of foot injuries---impact, compression and puncture. Special foot protection is also available for protection against static electricity, sparks, live electricity, corrosive materials, and slipping.

NOTE: Foot protection is particularly important in laboratory, agricultural and construction work.

IMPORTANT: Do not wear sandals or open-toed shoes in laboratories, shops or other potentially hazardous areas. Sturdy leather shoes are appropriate in laboratories.

18.8 Head Protection

Accidents that cause head injuries are difficult to anticipate or control. If hazards exist that could cause head injury, employees should try to eliminate the hazards, but they should also wear head protection.

Safety hats protect the head from impact, penetration, and electrical shock. Head protection is necessary if you work where there is a risk of injury from moving, falling, or flying objects or if you work near high-voltage equipment.

Contact the Safety Office for more information.

18.9 Safety Showers

Emergency safety showers provide emergency treatment for people exposed to harmful materials. If a person is contaminated with harmful chemicals, the emergency shower provides an instant deluge to protect the person from further exposure. UTIA uses ANSI standards for shower locations, travel distance, testing and function.

IMPORTANT: Emergency showers are for emergencies only. If a chemical spill occurs involving personal exposure, pull the cord and remove affected clothing immediately. Stay in the shower for at least 15 minutes.

Showers are tested annually by the Physical Plant.

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