Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) includes all clothing and work accessories designed to protect employees from workplace hazards. Protective equipment should not replace engineering, administrative, or procedural controls for safety - it should be used in conjunction with these controls. Employees must wear protective equipment as required and when instructed by a supervisor.


IMPORTANT: Personal protective equipment is used to prevent exposure or contamination. PPE should always be removed before coming in contact with other individuals or before going in or near elevators, break rooms, classrooms, bathrooms, etc.

Principal Investigators (PIs) or laboratory supervisors are required to assess the hazards based on the procedures performed in the laboratory and the controls in use. The PI or laboratory supervisor should determine if additional PPE or specific PPE beyond the minimum is required. Required PPE should be detailed as a laboratory-wide requirement (e.g., lab coats) or in Standard Operating Procedures for specific laboratory procedure(s). PPE for some types of hazards are shown in the following table.


Hazards and PPE



Biohazards (Germs)

Splash goggles, respirators, gloves, surgical masks, lab coats, aprons, sleeves, shoe covers, head covers


Gloves, chemical-resistant clothing, aprons, sleeves and shoe covers, vapor-proof or splash goggles, respirators


Cut-resistant gloves (leather, Kevlar, chain-mail)


Dust goggles, respirators


Electrically-resistive gloves, mats, hard hats

Falling Objects

Hard hats, steel-toe shoes, metatarsal guards


Fall harness, strap-on hard hat

Flying Particles

Safety glasses w/ side shields, goggles, face shields

Hot Environments

Cooling vests, reflective suits

Hot or Cold Objects

Gloves (Note: Asbestos gloves are prohibited and must be turned in as hazardous waste.)

Intense Light

Opaque glasses, goggles, welding hoods


Knee pads


No PPE available, use engineering controls/training

Low Overhead Objects

Bump cap, hard hat


Hearing protectors

Over-Water Work

Life vests, flotation devices


Lead apron, lead gloves, thyroid collar, lead glasses for X-ray, lab coats/gloves for radioactive materials

Repetitive Motion

No PPE available, use engineering controls/training


Non-skid shoes


Splash goggles, face shields, chemical-resistant clothing, gloves, aprons, sleeves and shoe covers


Reflective vest


General Apparel and Appearance

Inadequate Clothing

In the laboratory, do not wear open-toed shoes, sandals, shorts, cropped tops, or any other apparel that leaves skin exposed and unprotected. All loose clothing should be confined to avoid easily catching fire, dipping into chemicals, or becoming entangled in moving machinery.


Remove jewelry to prevent chemicals from collecting underneath, contacting electrical sources, catching on laboratory equipment, and/or damaging the jewelry itself.


Long hair should be tied back or confined to avoid easily catching fire, dipping into chemicals, or becoming entangled in moving machinery.


For additional information on particular types of PPE:

Arm and Hand Protection

Body Protection

Eye/Face Protection

Hearing Protection

Respiratory Protection