Personal Protective Equipment

The term "PPE" is used to describe any safety gear you may wear on your body to protect you from hazards in your work environment. Any given type of PPE may come in a wide variety of configurations, materials, sizes, shapes and styles. Many times, the variety in PPE stems from the exact nature of the hazard against which the PPE must protect. Examples of PPE include (but are not limited to): safety goggles, gloves, face shields, ear plugs, lab coats, etc. When selecting PPE for a certain job task, it is important to choose a product that will protect the individual from the specific hazards that are present. An SDS can help when selecting PPE to guard against chemical hazards. EHS can also evaluate job tasks to confirm that the proper equipment is being selected and used.

Hazard Control

Eliminating hazards through engineering or administrative control measures are the primary and preferred methods of providing personal protection. These control methods provide better and more consistent protection than relying on PPE alone. Even if PPE will be required, it is preferable for the PPE to be used in conjunction with engineering and/or administrative controls.

Hazard Assessment

Each department has the responsibility to review all of its employees' worksites for personal protective equipment needs. The regulations, the degree of hazard and the engineering or administrative controls that are in place will determine what PPE is needed. If departments will be using PPE for personnel hazards, the following items must be completed:

  • Assess the workplace for hazards.
  • Select appropriate PPE.
  • Ensure PPE is used.
  • Ensure employees are trained in PPE use through the UNE PPE training program.
  • Document assessment, selection, and training (UNE Job Hazard Assessment Form)

When the hazard assessment indicates that PPE is required, employing departments must provide the required PPE to employees free of charge.

Where a hazard assessment determines that no PPE is needed, document the assessment and you are done. However, remember that if a hazard exists that does not require PPE, other regulations or programs may be applicable.

If you need assistance with Job Hazard Assessments, please contact Environmental Health and Safety.