Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE”, is equipment worn to minimize exposure to chemicals and other hazards that cause serious injuries and illnesses. PPE creates a barrier between the ports of entry (mouth, skin, mucous membranes, and respiratory system) and the hazardous chemicals that may be encountered in the laboratory. The correct selection and proper use of PPE is an essential element of safe work in the laboratory.
PPE is the last line of protection behind administrative controls/policies, following safe work practices, and exposure control equipment, such as chemical fume hoods.
Action Items for all Labs
Each Principal Investigator (PI), Laboratory Supervisor and/or Instructors are responsible for the proper selection, use and maintenance of PPE in laboratories under their control. To determine the required PPE, complete a lab-specific hazard assessment to document the potential hazards present and the associated level of PPE required.
Groups with multiple lab spaces should conduct an assessment for each space, particularly if the potential hazards vary significantly. Multiple assessments will provide a more accurate representation of the hazards and PPE requirements of a given space.
Complete the following steps to: determine the type of PPE necessary for your laboratory activities, train individuals on the PPE policy and lab requirements, and review specific limitations, maintenance requirements and appropriate use of designated PPE:
- Review and document the specific hazards of your laboratory operations;
- Document that each individual in the laboratory has read and understands the PPE requirements;
- Information on different classes and type of PPE available
- Have PPE available and provide properly sized and fitted PPE for all laboratory personnel.
Laboratory room ventilation and the availability of chemical fume hoods make the use of respiratory protection unnecessary in most cases. In rare occasion that respiratory protection is needed, contact EHRS to enroll in the University Respiratory Protection Program.