The Safety Theme for July is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The purpose of PPE is to protect yourself from potential exposures as well as protect others by keeping what you work with inside the lab. PPE is one aspect of risk minimization, and it serves as your last line of defense against direct exposures to hazardous materials and environments (e.g., hot or cold surfaces, contaminated air, lasers, sound).

Lab appropriate attire includes long pants/skirt and closed-toe shoes. The minimum PPE required in the lab includes a lab coat or disposable gown, task specific gloves and protective eyewear for splash or aerosol hazards.

Additional PPE may be necessary as outlined in project approval letters and the EHSO PPE Assessment Form (for Research Laboratories). For example, if you are working with large volumes of corrosive liquids, chemical splash goggles, a face shield, and chemical resistant apron should be worn in addition to your minimum PPE. It is important to review the EHSO PPE Assessment Form (for Research Laboratories) annually to confirm the PPE used is appropriate given the activities conducted in the lab.

It is also important to don and doff PPE properly to prevent contamination. Review the chart below for the proper order of donning and doffing PPE.

It is important to choose the right glove type for the chemical you are handling or the task you are conducting since there is not a ‘one glove’ solution that protects against all hazards. Consult the relevant safety data sheet(s) (SDS) which may recommend a particular glove material. Once you have selected the correct gloves, care must be taken to inspect, maintain, and determine when to discard them. Gloves should be checked for physical damage before each use to ensure they are not torn, punctured, or made ineffective in any way. Non-disposable gloves that are discolored or stiff may also indicate deficiencies caused by excessive use or degradation from chemical exposure.

Appendix D in the Chemical Hygiene Plan includes the following chart for guidance on glove selection:

For more information on PPE such as instructions for laundering lab coats through UniFirst, or eye and face protection, please refer to the EHSO PPE Assessment Form (for Research Laboratories) or contact your EHSO Research Safety Building Liaison.





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