Personal Protective Equipment

The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Program helps employees identify work situations requiring the use of PPE, and trains them in the proper selection and use of PPE and documentation of this information.  Persons overseeing or visiting job sites must wear appropriate personal protective equipment.  

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (University), through the Division of Safety and Compliance (S&C), Occupational Safety and Health Department (OSH), and the Division of Research Safety (DRS), has established this Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Program (Program) to protect the health and safety of university students, faculty, and staff and to ensure compliance with State and Federal occupational safety and health standards.

PPE devices are not to be relied on as the only means to protect against hazards. The best approach is to abate the hazard first through engineering and administrative controls (change in process, elimination of process, chemical substitution, etc.). If hazards cannot be controlled with these methods, PPE should be used to provide worker protection. This program will be used in conjunction with other University policies and procedures involving the protection of students, faculty, and staff.

Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and Division of Research Safety (DRS)
Campus safety units (OSH and DRS) are responsible for the administration of this program as it applies to student, faculty, and staff exposures to hazards (e.g., electrical shock, noise, falling/flying objects, chemicals, biohazardous materials, lasers, radioactive materials, etc.). The Campus safety units can, upon request, provide or assist with general awareness training, hazard assessments, and recommendations for appropriate selection of PPE. Additionally, the Campus safety units will provide regulatory interpretation and review this Program annually.

Deans, Department Heads, and Directors (Campus Units)
Deans, Department Heads, and Directors will demonstrate a commitment, both fiscal and managerial, towards the implementation of the PPE Program. They will establish budgetary support for this program for their individual department(s) and ensure the PPE Selection Guidelines are implemented and maintained within their department(s).  

Supervisors of Affected Employees
Supervisors are responsible for contacting OSH or DRS with questions about the type of PPE required for a task and conduct or arrange for the appropriate selection and fitting of PPE. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring a Job Hazard Assessment (JHA) or other hazard assessment documentation that requires PPE is developed and maintained for activities under their supervision. Supervisors must ensure employees receive training on the proper selection, storage, use, and maintenance of PPE when employees they supervise are required to use such equipment. Supervisors must also ensure retraining.

Supervisors are responsible for conducting or arranging for PPE-specific training, documenting, and maintaining training records. Supervisors are also responsible for supplying the appropriate PPE to employees and ensuring it is worn according to the training provided. Supervisors must assure the requirements of this program are observed with respect to hazard surveys, testing, training, and record keeping.

Employees are responsible for reporting to the supervisor any operation or job for which they suspect that PPE may be needed. Employees are also responsible to attend training on PPE as required by this program. Further, they are responsible to use PPE in accordance with instruction and training received as necessitated by job hazard assessments. Employees should not use any PPE with deficiencies and should report any deficiencies or malfunctions to a supervisor. Employees should notify their supervisor if they experience a noticeable change in health while wearing their PPE or experience a potential problem with their PPE.

The Hazard Assessment
An assessment of the workplace is used to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, and necessitate the use of PPE. When conducting a hazard assessment, a task is identified, investigated and potential hazards determined. Potential hazards may be physical or health-related. Examples of physical hazards include moving objects, fluctuating temperatures, rolling or pinching objects, electrical connections and sharp edges. Examples of health hazards include overexposure to harmful dusts, chemicals, or radiation. The hazard assessment may be conducted for an individual employee, performing a single task, or a group of employees if all the employees perform an identical task. The assessment should be documented.

Hazard Assessment Documentation
A workplace hazard assessment must be performed through a written certification that identifies the workplace evaluated, the person certifying that the evaluation has been performed and the date(s) of the hazard assessment. The Job Hazard Assessment form (Appendix A) is one tool that satisfies the assessment process has been completed as required by regulations. This assessment assures that potential workplace hazards and appropriate controls, including PPE, have been identified. Completed assessment forms shall be maintained by the department and available to the employee. All hazard control selection decisions, including the selection of PPE, must be communicated to the affected employees.

PPE Selection Guidelines
PPE must be selected that will protect the employee from each hazard identified in the assessment that cannot be controlled through the use of engineering or administrative controls. The PPE Worksheet (Appendix B) will assist in this process.

This program will be reviewed annually by OSH.

Appendix A - JHA Template
Appendix B - PPE Worksheet
Appendix C - Training Doc Form
Appendix D - Additional PPE Info