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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE in Laboratories

The potential hazards in a laboratory can arise at any time. They can include accidental spills and splashes of dangerous chemicals, potential contact with biological agents, handling of radioactive materials, etc. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is special gear used to protect the wearer from specific hazards of a hazardous substance. PPE is not a substitute for good engineering or administrative controls or good work practices, but should be used in conjunction with these controls to ensure the safety and health of employees. PPE does not reduce or eliminate the hazard, it protects only the wearer.

PPE in laboratories include eyes, face, and foot protection, as well as gloves and protective clothing. The need for PPE is dependent upon the type of operations and the nature and quantity of the materials in use, and must be assessed on a case by case basis. Workers who rely on PPE must understand the functioning, proper use, and limitations of its uses.

To avoid potentially hazardous situations, each laboratory must conduct a hazard assessment to identify the hazards and select the most appropriate type of PPE for protection. Hazard assessments are typically conducted by the Principal Investigator and should be documented. After a determination of the hazards is completed, this information is used to select the most appropriate PPE.

The HSC Safety Department is available for assistance with hazardous assessments.

To obtain or replenish Personal Protective Equipment contact your laboratory safety supplier.