Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as "PPE", is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full body suits.

All personal protective equipment must be safely designed and constructed, appropriately selected for the hazard, and should be maintained in a clean and reliable fashion. It should fit comfortably, encouraging employee use. If the personal protective equipment does not fit properly, it can make the difference between being safely covered or dangerously exposed.

When engineering, work practice, and administrative controls are not feasible or do not provide sufficient protection, The University provides personal protective equipment to their employees and ensures its proper use. Team leads and front line supervisors must train each employee that is required to use personal protective equipment to know and understand:

  • When it is necessary
  • What kind is necessary
  • How to properly put it on, adjust, wear and take it off
  • The limitations of the equipment
  • Proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of the equipment

The University's program uses a Job Safety/Hazard Analysis and/or PPE Hazard Assessment to:

  • Identify hazards that are present;
  • Determine the selection, maintenance, and use of PPE;
  • Provide training of employees; and
  • Monitor ongoing effectiveness.

Eye & Face Protection


  • Protect against specific hazard(s) encountered by employees
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Must not restrict vision or movement
  • Durable and easy to clean and disinfect
  • Must not interfere with the function of other required PPE
  • Meet requirements of ANSI Z87.1-1989 for devices purchased after July 5, 1994, and ANSI Z87.1-1968 for devices purchased before that date

Eye Protection for Employees Who Wear Prescription Eyeglasses

  • Prescription eyeglasses, with side shields and protective lenses meeting requirements of ANSI Z87.1
  • Goggles that can fit comfortably over corrective eyeglasses without disturbing their alignment
  • Goggles that incorporate corrective lenses mounted behind protective lenses

Face Shields

  • Do not protect employees from impact hazards
  • Use face shields in combination with goggles or safety spectacles when you must protect your employees from impact hazards (e.g., grinding metal surfaces), even in the absence of dust or potential splashes

Head Protection

The employer must provide head protection for your employees if:

  • Objects might fall from above and strike them on the head
  • They might bump their heads against fixed objects, such as exposed pipes or beams
  • They work near exposed electrical conductors


In general, protective helmets, or hard hats, should:

  • Resist penetration by objects,
  • Absorb the shock of a blow,
  • Be water resistant and slow burning,
  • Come with instructions explaining proper adjustment and replacement of the suspension and head band, and
  • Comply with ANSI Z89.1-1986 (if purchased after July 5, 1994) or ANSI Z89.1-1969 (if purchased before this date).

Classes of Hard Hats

Class A

  • Used for general service (e.g., mining, building construction, shipbuilding, lumbering, manufacturing)
  • Provide good impact protection but limited voltage protection

Class B

  • Used for electrical work
  • Protect against falling objects and high-voltage shock and burns

Class C

  • Designed for comfort, offer limited protection
  • Protect heads that might bump against fixed objects, but do not protect against falling objects or electrical shock

Note: The terminology and designations used in ANSI Z89.1-1986 are different from those used in later editions of ANSI Z89.1.

Other Equipment

  • Bump caps

Foot and Leg Protection

Some of the potential hazards that would require foot and leg protection include:

  • Heavy objects such as barrels or tools that might roll onto or fall on employees’ feet
  • Sharp objects such as nails or spikes that might pierce the soles or uppers of ordinary shoes
  • Molten metal that might splash on feet or legs
  • Hot or wet surfaces
  • Slippery surfaces

Foot Protection Requirements

  • Protective footwear purchased after July 5, 1994 must meet the requirements of ANSI Z41-1991
  • Protective footwear purchased before that date must comply with ANSI Z41-1967

Types of Foot and Leg Protection

  • Leggings. Protect lower legs and feet from heat hazards, like molten metal or welding sparks. Safety snaps allow leggings to be removed quickly.
  • Metatarsal Guards. Strapped to outside of shoes to protect instep area from impact and compression. Made of aluminum, steel, fiber or plastic.
  • Toe Guards. Fit over the toes of regular shoes to protect only the toes from impact and compression. Made of steel, aluminum, or plastic.
  • Combination Foot and Shin Guards. May be used in combination with toe guards when greater protection is needed.
  • Safety Shoes. These have impact-resistant toes and heat-resistant soles that protect against hot work surfaces common in roofing, paving, and hot metal industries.
    • May have metal insoles to protect against puncture wounds
    • May be designed to be electrically conductive for use in explosive atmospheres
    • May be designed to be electrically nonconductive to protect from workplace electrical hazards