Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The purpose of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) program is to protect researchers, employees, students, and visitors from potential hazards in the work environment. Appropriate PPE must be worn when entering areas with known or potential exposure(s) to hazards. Principal Investigators (PI) and supervisors are required to ensure the appropriate selection of PPE is available. Eliminating hazards through engineering or administrative controls provides better and more consistent protection than relying on PPE alone. If PPE is necessary, it is best used with engineering and/or administrative controls along with good work practices.
This program applies to all University laboratory organizational units at all locations including the Washington Square, Tandon School of Engineering, the and College of Dentistry Campuses; University owned property; University leased space; and temporary field locations under the control of University operations staff.
PPE for respiratory, hearing, elevated work, electrical, welding, and other physical hazards are covered under Environmental Health and Safety, but shall be documented in the hazard assessment for PPE.
Hierarchy of Controls
The five groups are stacked as progressively smaller section of the inverted triangle. Ranging from most effective hazard control to the least effective. The groups, from largest or most effective to smallest or least effective, are: Elimination, Substitution, Engineering Controls, Administrative Controls, personal protective equipment (PPE).
What are the hierarchy of controls?
A hierarchy of controls is used as a means of creating a safer system.
Elimination and Substitution
Elimination and substitution are the most effective at mitigating hazards. An example of substitution would be replacing a hazardous chemical used during a cleaning process with a less hazardous one.
Engineering controls are used to control – not eliminate - a hazard. Well-designed engineering controls will be independent of worker interactions and provide a high level of protection. Examples: chemical fume hoods and biological safety cabinets (BSC) engineering controls
Administrative controls are behavior-oriented. Training, written procedures, inspections, and warning signs are administrative controls.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is the last line of defense and is used to supplement other hazard control measures in the hierarchy. Examples of PPE are gloves, safety glasses, protective footwear, and respirators.
Types of Personal Protective Equipment
OSHA Requirement: “Employers shall select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when employees’ hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes.”
When selecting gloves, be sure to understand the limitations of each type, and that a glove selected for protection against one type of hazard will not necessarily be effective against another type of hazard. If the work or task involves more than one type of hazard, this must be taken into consideration in selecting the best type of glove for the circumstances.
In some circumstances involving work around machinery, gloves may create a hazard of being caught in the machinery and pulling the hand into the machine. Working around machinery such as lathes must be carefully analyzed to determine if gloves can be used or not. The specific task may determine if the use of gloves is feasible.
Chemical Compatibility and Permeation Charts
A lab coat can be used to protect an employee’s personal clothing from incidental chemical contact or contamination from radioactive or biological agents. The lab coat is to be worn in the lab and removed when the employee leaves the laboratory space.
When properly used, lab coats:
- Provide protection of skin and personal clothing from incidental contact and small splashes.
- Prevent the spread of contamination outside the lab (provided they are not worn outside the lab).
- Provide a removable barrier in the event of an incident involving a spill or splash of hazardous substances.
Lab coats are made of different materials, and it is important to select a coat of appropriate material for the types of hazards in the lab. The first step in this selection process is to determine the types of hazards that exist in your lab.
Some questions to consider are the following:
- Does your lab work primarily with chemicals, biological agents, radioisotopes, or a mix of things?
- Does your lab work involve animal handling?
- Are there large quantities of flammable materials used in the lab?
- Are there water reactive or pyrophoric materials used? In a fume hood or a glove box?
- Are there open flames or hot processes along with a significant amount of flammables?
- How are hazardous chemicals used and what engineering controls are available, e.g. a fume hood or glove box?
- Is there a significant risk of spill, splash or splatter for the tasks being done?
- What is the toxicity of chemicals used and is there concern about inadvertent spread of contamination?
Eye & Face Protection
Eye protection is required by OSHA regulation whenever and wherever potential eye hazards exist. Hazards requiring eye and/or face protection include flying particles; molten metal; liquids including acids or caustic materials, biological or radioactive materials; chemical gases or vapors; and potentially injurious light radiation such as lasers, or intense visible light from welding.
Protective eye and face wear must comply with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard Z87.1. Normal prescription glasses do not meet the standard for impact resistance and should not be used as a substitute for safety glasses.
Types of protective eye and face wear include:
- Safety glasses- Must have side shields (built-in or clip-on)
- Chemical splash goggles- Must be indirect vented, tight fitting eye protection that completely covers the eyes, eye sockets and facial area surrounding the eyes. Provides protection from impact and splashes.
- Dust goggles- Tight fitting direct vented eye protection for chips, chips and other large particles
- Face shield- Protect against splashes or sprays of hazardous materials. Must be worn with goggles to prevent liquid chemicals from getting into the eyes, such as working with cryogenic liquids or highly reactive chemicals. Face shields may also be worn for protection against UV. For the purpose of UV protection the face shield must be design to protect the face and eye from hazardous radiation.
- Laser eyewear- Protective eyewear is required for Class 3 and 4 laser use where irradiation of the eye is possible. Such eyewear should be used only at the wavelength and energy/power for which it is intended.
- Fluid resistent face shield- Provide splash protection from biological material, such as human or non-human primate body fluids.These shields do not provide protection against chemicals or impact hazards and do not comply with ANSI Z87.1
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Principal Investigators and Supervisors responsibilities?
PIs and supervisors are responsible for assessing their worksites for hazards and identifying the PPE needs for all employees, students and visitors who may be potentially exposed to the hazards. They are responsible for the following:
- Assess the workplace for hazards.
- Identify how to control the hazards; engineering and administrative controls should be used first and then PPE.
- Select appropriate PPE that fits properly and provide it to employees.
- Ensure PPE is used.
- Establish inspection, maintenance and replacement procedures to ensure damaged PPE is not used.
- Train employees in proper use, limitations, care and maintenance of PPE.
- Document hazard assessment in BioRAFT, PPE selection and lab-specific/ site-specific training.
- If changes occur in the workplace, including procedures or chemical use, re-evaluate hazard assessment, PPE needs and training.
- Assess PPE use at least annually; determine improvements as needed
What are the responsibilities of employees, students and visitors?
- Inspect PPE prior to use, replacing gear as appropriate if defective
- Select PPE that fits and is comfortable when working
- Wear PPE as required
- Attend lab-specific/ site-specific PPE training
- Clean and maintain PPE as trained
- Inform your supervisor of the need to repair or replace PPE
To determine the appropriate PPE to wear, based on chemical and physical hazards encountered, consult with the PI or supervisor and review standard operating procedures (SOPs), protocols, and other hazard information.
I am a PI or supervisor, how do I perform a PPE Assessment?
RLS offers a Laboratory PPE Hazard Assessment Guide (DOC: 146KB), to assist PIs and laboratory managers to identify laboratory hazards and the appropriate PPE. For shop supervisors, see the Shop and Physical Hazard PPE Assessment Guide to identify shop hazards and appropriate PPE.
When a hazard assessment determines that no PPE is needed, simply document the assessment. However, remember that if a hazard exists that does not require PPE, other regulations or programs requiring the use of PPE may still apply.
Why do I have to document a PPE hazard assessment?
Federal Law OSHA PPE Standard 1910.134 makes NYU PI's, Managers, and Supervisors responsible for identifying potential workplace hazards.