The primary methods for preventing employee exposure to hazardous materials are engineering and administrative controls (Section 10 of the Chemical Hygiene Plan (PDF)). Where these control methods are not appropriate or sufficient to control the hazard, personal protective equipment (PPE) is required.
A work area assessment is required to determine the potential hazards and select the appropriate PPE for adequate protection. Employees must receive training which includes the proper PPE for their job, when this PPE must be worn, how to wear, adjust, maintain, and discard this equipment, and the limitations of the PPE.
To ensure the proper selection, use, and care of PPE through work area hazard assessments and appropriate employee training.
Each department is responsible for:
- Identifying the appropriate PPE based on the hazards of the task/ work area. See the General PPE Selection Considerations (PDF) and the Laboratory PPE Assessment Tool (PDF) if applicable. Contact EH&S for assistance or questions when conducting your assessment.
- Providing and paying for required PPE. Assure appropriate equipment is available.
- Enforcing the proper use of PPE.
- Maintaining PPE in a clean and reliable condition (clean, sanitary, replace worn or defective parts).
- Training employees (document the training) on the following:
- When PPE is needed
- What PPE is needed
- How to properly put on, adjust, wear, and remove the PPE
- Useful life and limitations of the PPE
- Proper care, storage, and disposal of the PPE
Types of Personal Protective Equipment
Eye and Face Protection
Faculty, staff, students, contractors, and visitors shall wear the appropriate eye and face protection when involved in activities where there is the potential for eye and face injury from:
- Handling of hot solids, liquids, or molten metals
- Flying particles from chiseling, milling, sawing, turning, shaping, cutting, etc.
- Heat treatment, tempering, or kiln firing of any metal or other materials
- Intense light radiation from gas or electric arc welding, glassblowing, torch brazing, oxygen cutting, laser use, etc.
- Repair or servicing of any vehicle
- Handling of chemicals and gases
Ordinary prescription glasses do not provide adequate protection. Eye protection must conform to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Standard Z87.1-1989. Look for this stamp on the inside of the safety glass frame. Prescription safety glasses are recommended for employees who must routinely wear safety glasses in lieu of fitting safety glasses over their personal glasses. All safety glasses should have side shields. Whenever protection against splashing is a concern, "Chemical Splash Goggles" must be worn.
Goggles are intended for use when protection is needed against chemicals or particles. Impact protection goggles which contain perforations on the sides of goggle are not to be used for chemical splash protection, therefore are not recommended. Splash goggles which contain shielded vents at the top of the goggle are appropriate for chemical splash protection, and also provide limited eye impact protection. Goggles only protect the eyes, offering no protection for the face and neck.
Full face shields provide the face and throat and partial protection from flying particles and liquid splash. For maximum protection against chemical splash, a full face shield should be used in combination with chemical splash goggles. Face shields are appropriate as secondary protection when implosion (e.g vacuum applications) or explosion hazards are present. Face shields which are contoured to protect the sides of the neck as well as frontal protection are preferred.
Eye Protection For Intense Light Sources
(Welding, glassblowing, gas welding, oxygen cutting, torch brazing, laser use, etc.)
The radiation produced by welding covers a broad range of the spectrum of light. Exposure to ultraviolet light (UV-B) from welding operations can cause "welders flash", a painful inflammable of the outer layer of the cornea. Arc welding or arc cutting operations, including submerged arc welding, require the use of welding helmets with an appropriate filter lens. Goggles with filter plates or tinted glass are available for glassblowing and other operations where intense light sources are encountered, including but not limited to, gas welding or oxygen cutting operations. Spectacles with suitable filter lenses may be appropriate for light gas welding operations, torch brazing, or inspection.
Employees shall use hand protection when exposed to hazards including:
- Skin absorption of harmful substances
- Severe cuts
- Severe abrasions
- Chemical burns
- Thermal burns
- Harmful temperature extremes
Wear proper hand protection whenever the potential for contact with chemicals, sharp objects, or very hot or cold materials exists. Select gloves based on the properties of the material in use, the degree of protection needed, and the nature of the work (direct contact necessary, dexterity needed, etc). Manufacturer’s safety reference materials are helpful in selecting the proper gloves for your task. Leather gloves may be used for protection against sharp edged objects, such as when picking up broken glassware or inserting glass tubes into stoppers. When working at temperature extremes, use insulated gloves. Materials such as Nomex and Kevlar may be used briefly up to 1000 °F. Do not use gloves containing asbestos. Asbestos is regulated as a carcinogen under OSHA.
When considering chemical gloves, note that glove materials will be permeated (pass through) by chemicals. The permeation rate varies depending on the chemical, glove material, and thickness. Double gloving is recommended when handling highly toxic or carcinogenic materials. Before each use, inspect the gloves for discoloration, punctures and tears. Before removal, wash gloves if the glove material is impermeable to water. Observe any changes in glove color and texture, including hardening or softening, which may be indications of glove degradation.
Tips when working with hazardous materials:
- Consult manufacturer’s guides to ensure the gloves will provide protection.
- Never re-use disposable gloves.
- Use Nitrile if Latex allergy.
- Change frequently and remove properly when working with hazardous materials.
- Wash hands frequently.
Employees working around hazard materials or machinery shall not wear loose clothing (e.g. saris, dangling neckties, necklaces) or unrestrained long hair. Loose clothing, jewelry, and unrestrained long hair can become ensnared in moving parts of machinery or contact chemicals. Finger rings can damage gloves and trap chemicals against the skin.
Lab Coat Selection
Lab coats are required in all Pace laboratories to minimize clothing contamination and skin exposure to hazardous materials. They also provide some temporary protection against fire. Although, most lab coats are not designed to be impermeable to hazardous substances or flameproof, they provide additional safety because they can be quickly removed to isolate harmful exposures or flames. To minimize body exposures in the lab and provide some temporary protection against fire, adhere to the following:
- Beware of limitation of each type of the lab coat
- Make sure that additional protective measures are selected and in use based on the hazard reviews
- Wash/maintain lab coats as recommended by vendors
- Contact EH&S for any questions (2-2818)
Occupation Foot Protection
Safety toe footwear shall conform to the requirements and specifications of ASTM-F 2413 March 2005, "American Standard Test Method"
Wear proper shoes, not sandals or open toed shoes, in work areas where chemicals are used or stored. Perforated shoes, sandals or cloth sneakers should not be worn in areas where mechanical work is being done.
Safety shoes are required for protection against injury from heavy falling objects (handling of objects weighing more than fifteen pounds which, if dropped, would likely result in a foot injury), against crushing by rolling objects (warehouse, loading docks, etc), and against laceration or penetration by sharp objects.
Program under development. Contact EH&S with any questions.
Occupational Head Protection
Helmets designed to protect the head from impact and penetration from falling/flying objects and from limited electric shock and burn shall meet the requirements and specifications established in ANSI Z89.1- 1986, "Requirements for Industrial Head Protection".
Specific design and performance, use, and care requirements apply to protective equipment used for isolation against electrical hazards. Persons selecting for purchase, maintaining, and using such equipment (insulating blankets, matting, covers, line hose, gloves, and sleeves made of rubber) must be familiar with these requirements (refer to 29 CFR 1910.137).