Environmental Health, Safety, and Risk Management
Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) refers to protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer's body from injury or infection. The hazards addressed by protective equipment include physical, electrical, heat, chemicals, biohazards, and airborne particulate matter.
The purpose of personal protective equipment is to reduce employee exposure to hazards when engineering and administrative controls are not feasible or effective to reduce these risks to acceptable levels.
According to the Department of Occupational Health and Safety and California Code of Regulations - Title 8 - Section 3382 eye and face protection is required when there is risk of eye injury from flying particles, chemicals, or harmful light rays.
Eyewear Selection Guide
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has developed a terrific tool for identification of the type of appropriate face and eye protection. To make use of this tool go to:
According to the department of Occupational Safety & Health Administration, employees are required to have protective footwear when working in areas where there are:
- Electrical hazards
- Hazards capable causing injury due to heat sources
- Hazards capable causing injury due to corrosive substances
- Hazards capable causing injury due to poisonous substances
- Hazards capable causing injury due to falling objects
- A potential for objects piercing the sole of the foot
- Crushing or penetrating actions, which may cause injuries
- Requirements to work in abnormally wet locations
Protective footwear must meet one of the following requirements:
- Purchased date on or before January 26, 2007 either the “American National Standard for Personal Protection -Protective Footwear”, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z41-1999, or the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F2412-05, Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection and ASTM F 2413-05, Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Foot Protection which are hereby incorporated by reference.
- Purchased date after January 26, 2007, shall meet the requirements and specifications in American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F 2412-05, Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection and ASTM F 2413-05, Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Foot Protection.
Foot Protection Training
Skin injuries resulting from instantaneous trauma or brief exposure to toxic agents involving a single incident in the work environment may constitute 23%-35% of all injuries. Of these injuries in 1986:
- 82% are due to lacerations/punctures
- 14% are due to burns, both chemical and other 1
When working outdoors care should be taken to ensure your exposure to the sun is limited and:
- Seek shade whenever possible.
- Wear additional clothing when practical, such as a hat.
- Use sunscreen on areas of the skin that will be exposed.
"Our hands also enable us to perform heavy labor, such as digging with a shovel, swinging an axe, using a jackhammer to drill through concrete, or pounding a railroad spike with a sledgehammer.... Even when we're talking, our hands are a key part of who we are and what we say." - http://www.amputee-coalition.org
The use of gloves is important to help:
- Improve grip on slippery surfaces
- Prevent exposure to corrosives, or toxic materials
- Prevent cuts and abrasion
- Prevent electrocution
- Prevent burns from heat sources
For more information regarding protecting your hands from harm, and selecting the right gloves for the job or specific hazard please review the following:
- 1Center for Disease Control - MMWR - September 05, 1986
Hearing Protection Devices
When sound level exposure exceeds 90 dB usually some method of hearing protection is required. When administrative and engineering controls are insufficient, then PPE in the form of a hearing protection device should be used. Hearing protection devices come in two varieties:
- Ear Plugs
- Ear Muffs
Ear plugs are generally used for most situations where hearing protection is needed due to their ease of use and low cost. When choosing ear plugs be sure to select a variety that is a comfortable fit for your ear canal.
Ear muffs are used when a higher than usual level of protection is needed. When using ear muffs you need to be sure you obtain a tight seal between your head and the muff in order to achieve the necessary level of protection.
For further information on the Hearing Protection Program refer to the hearing protection section under General Safety, or the Hearing Conservation Program Manual.
Respiratory Protection Program
Campus employees must be authoirized to use a respirator or enrolled in the volunteer
The goal of the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard is to require the use of appropriate and effective respiratory protection to prevent employee exposure to atmospheric contamination. Respiratory protection includes the use of respiratory protection devices, or "respirators", whenever administrative and/or engineering controls may not be completely effective or sufficient (see Hierarchy of Control).
While respirators allow employees to work safely in environments contaminated by hazardous or dangerous dust, fumes, mist, gases or vapors; the degree of safety afforded by respiratory protection depends on a number of factors, such as the:
- Type of respirator
- Nature of the work
- Physical condition of the employee
Therefore, it is important that all steps of the respiratory protection program be followed.
Under the standard a written respiratory program is required. The program must include the following:
- Training on determining under what circumstances a respirator needs to be used; selecting the correct respirator under the conditions expected; and properly using and maintaining a respirator
- Medical evaluations of employees required to use respirators
- Fit testing to ensure respirators are properly fitted
When all three components are completed, then the user is certified for respirator use. (Note: Those applying for respirator use certification for asbestos work need additional clearance. Contact the Office of EHS RMS for more information.)
Refresher training and re-fit testing must be done at least annually in order to maintain respirator use certification.