Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The purpose of the PPE program is to protect researchers, employees, students, and visitors from potential hazards in the work environment. However, 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.

A key element of the program includes a thorough hazard assessment of activities, processes and work areas to determine the nature and degree of hazards, determination of the engineering and administrative controls that are in place and relevant regulations. When the hazard assessment indicates that PPE is required, departments must select and provide PPE that properly fits individuals.

PPE Information

Responsibilities of PIs, laboratory managers, shop supervisors  

PIs, laboratory managers and shop supervisors are responsible for assessing all worksites for hazards and identifying the PPE needs for all employees, students and visitors who may be potentially exposed to the hazards.

Eliminate, substitute or design out exposure to hazards or hazardous operations, if possible. If not possible or feasible, the degree of hazard and engineering or administrative controls in place will determine what PPE is needed. If departments use PPE for hazard protection, the following items must be completed:

  • 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, PPE selection and training.
  • If changes occur in the workplace, including procedures or chemical use, reevaluate hazard assessment, PPE needs and training.
  • Assess PPE use at least annually; determine improvements as needed

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.

Responsibilities of employees, students and visitors  
Responsibilities of Laboratory Safety Division