Clemson University

6. Personal Protective Apparel and Equipment (PPE)

Protective apparel compatible with the required degree of protection for substances being handled (follow labeling requirements and refer to SDS). Users must be trained in the proper selection, use, cleaning, and maintenance of personal protective equipment (PPE). (Refer to Appendix G for information on PPE)

a.     Eye and Face Protection

*      Safety glasses must be worn by everyone, including visitors, who enter an area where chemicals are stored, handled or used. They must also be worn in areas where machines or operations create a flying particle/object hazard;  areas where processes can produce aerosols; where hot liquids or molten metals are handled; gas or electric welding in done; cyrogenic materials are handled; explosive materials are handled, or injurious radiation is present. PIs/lab managers/supervisors are responsible for ensuring that lab workers have the appropriate eyewear based on the hazards in their laboratories.

*      Regular eyeglasses and contact lenses do not provide adequate eye protection.

*      For laboratory visitors, safety glasses with side shields are adequate. For laboratory workers, where the danger of chemical splash exists, splash goggles are required.

*      For more hazardous operations, a combination of safety goggles or glasses and a face shield should be used (i.e., handling corrosive chemicals, cryogenic or hot liquids, where flying particles/objects are a potential hazard).

*      Design, construction, tests, and use of eye and face protection must meet ANSI Z87.1 requirements. To ensure that the protective eye and face devices you are using are approved by OSHA, look for Z87.1 stamped on the glasses.

See Appendix G for more information on safety eyewear, including information on University contract for prescription safety glasses.


b. Laboratory Coats/protective clothing

*      Must be worn in areas where chemicals are handled or used (scrubs or similar apparel that will provide equivalent protection may be worn)

*      Should be worn outside of laboratories only when transporting hazardous materials from lab to lab, stockrooms, etc.

*      Must be worn when handling (dispensing, mixing, etc.) hazardous chemicals

*      They must not be worn in public or administrative areas of a building such as the offices, cafeteria/vending areas, lounges, etc.

*      Are intended to prevent contact with the minor chemical splashes and spills encountered in a lab.

*      Do not significantly resist penetration by organic liquids—intended for incidental splash protection

*      Fabric should be selected by the laboratory activity—cotton or flame retardant lab coats should be used in laboratories where open flame is used or where large quantities of flammable chemicals are used. Polyester blends provide more chemical resistance, but tend to melt to your skin if they catch fire.

*      Should be removed immediately when they become contaminated.

*      Front opening laboratory coats should always be worn closed.

*      When handling corrosive or irritating liquids, chemically-resistant aprons and sleeve covers provide better protection but can complicate injuries in the event of a fire.

*      Home laundering of laboratory coats and other protective clothing is not permitted. A washer and dryer are available in Room 71 of the P&AS Building. (See Appendix L for info on Laundry Facility)

*      Should be laundered routinely to prevent contamination from accumulation.

*      Must be provided to lab workers. PIs/lab managers/supervisors are responsible for ensuring that lab workers have appropriate lab coats or other protective based on the chemicals in their laboratories.


c.     Hand Protection

*      Hand protection is required for employees whose hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; damage of skin by contact with a hazardous material; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes, i.e., cryogenic liquids).

*      Select proper glove material based on the substance being handled, the particular hazard involved, and their suitability for the operation being conducted.

*      Inspect gloves for discoloration, punctures, and tears before each use. If the gloves are to be reused, wash them before removal and replace them periodically.

*      Always wash hands after removing gloves.

*      Must be provided to lab workers. PIs/lab managers/supervisors are responsible for ensuring that lab workers have gloves appropriate for handling the chemicals in their laboratories.


d.     Respiratory Protection

*      The Office of Research Safety (RS) provides respiratory protection for situations where engineering and administrative controls cannot feasibly contain a respiratory hazard.

*      The Industrial Hygiene Manager would determine the need for respiratory protection. If a respirator is needed, it must be issued from the Office of Research.

*      The purchase of all respiratory protection equipment for use at Clemson University facilities requires prior approval by the Office of Environmental Safety.

*      Anyone whose work may require respirator use should follow the procedures outlined in University’s Respirator Protection Program. These include:

*      Hazard evaluation

*      Respirator selection

*      Medical surveillance

*      Respiratory training

*      Fit testing

Refer to the University Respiratory Protection Program for complete information or contact RS.


e.     Hearing Protection

*      Exposure to high noise levels can cause hearing loss or impairment. It can create physical and psychological stress. There is no cure for noise-induced hearing loss, so the prevention of excessive noise exposure is the only way to avoid hearing damage. Specially designed protection is required, depending on the type of noise encountered.

*      Preformed or molded ear plugs should be individually fitted

*      Some earplugs are disposable, to be used one time and then thrown away. The non-disposable type should be cleaned after each use for proper protection.

*      Earmuffs need to make a perfect seal around the ear to be effective. Special equipment is available for use with glasses or beards.

*      For extremely noisy situations, earplugs should be worn in addition to earmuffs. When used together, earplugs and earmuffs change the nature of sounds; all sounds are reduced including one’s own voice, but other voices or warning devices are easier to hear.

*      Contact RS for information and assistance.