This Personal Protective Equipment Plan applies to all staff working outside the laboratory setting. This program addresses eye, face, head, foot and hand protection.  Required PPE will be provided by Penn at no cost to employees.

For PPE guidelines for working with biohazards, infectious or potentially infectious materials, see the University of Pennsylvania Biological Safety Manual.

For PPE guidelines for working with chemicals in the laboratory see the University of Pennsylvania Chemical Hygiene Plan.

See the University of Pennsylvania Radiation Safety User's Guide for PPE guidelines as well as safe work practices involving radioactive materials.

For proper donning, doffing, use, maintenance, cleaning and care of respirators, see the University of Pennsylvania Respirator Program.

For Laser Safety recommendations and requirements consult the University of Pennsylvania Laser Safety Manual.

For PPE guidelines regarding hearing conservation see Penn's Hearing Conservation Program.


Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (EHRS)

EHRS will:

  • Update the written Penn Personal Protective Equipment Plan
  • Provide guidance in the selection of PPE
  • Assist Supervisors with hazard assessments
  • Provide training for non-routine specific PPE


Supervisors will:

  • Select PPE based on a written hazard assessment.  Hazards may include impact, penetration, compression, chemical, heat, dust, light, and biologicial.  The Supervisor must identify hazards of each work task and will select and have employees use the appropriate PPE.
  • Certify hazard assessments and reveiw and update assessments whenever procedure change, and at least annually.
  • Provide training in the proper use and limitations, maintenance and disposal of PPE.
  • Re-train employees when there are changes in PPE or when an employee does not follow proper PPE use.
  • Not allow the use of damaged or defective equipment.

The Supervisor must verify that the employee understands the training, can properly use the PPE and should maintain a record of the training.


Employees will:

  • Be responsible for wearing and maintaining their PPE.
  • Report to their Supervisor when PPE is defective or damaged.
  • Inspect, clean and maintain PPE.
  • Not share PPE unless it has been properly cleaned and sanitized in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.  PPE will be distributed for individual use whenever possible.
  • Attend training in how to choose, don, doff, wear, clean and  maintain, and dispose of PPE.
  • Understand the limitations of PPE.
How to Select Personal Protective Equipment
  1. A hazard assessment will be performed for each work area to determine if hazards are present.  The assessment will identify the proper PPE for the identified hazards.
  2. Supervisors may use information from the manufacturer safety data sheet (SDS) to determine the correct PPE for chemical use.
  3. PPE must be certified and meet regulatory guidelines, including, but not limited to, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  4. EHRS will provide guidance in selection of PPE as needed.

Fitting the PPE

Careful consideration must be given to comfort and fit. PPE that fits poorly will not afford the necessary protection. Continued wearing of the device is more likely if it fits the wearer comfortably. Protective devices are generally available in a variety of sizes. Care must be taken to ensure that the right size is selected.

Devices with Adjustable Features

Adjustments should be made on an individual basis for a comfortable fit that will maintain the protective device in the proper position. Particular care should be taken in fitting devices for eye protection against dust and chemical splash to ensure that the devices are sealed to the face. In addition, proper fitting of helmets is important to ensure that it will not fall off during work operations. In some cases a chinstrap may be necessary to keep the helmet on an employee's head. (Chinstraps should break at a reasonably low force, however, so as to prevent a strangulation hazard.) Where manufacturer's instructions are available, they should be followed carefully.

Types of PPE

Eye and Face Protection

Each affected employee shall use appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.

Each affected employee shall use eye protection that provides side protection when there is a hazard from flying objects. All Eye and Face PPE must be selected in compliance with the OSHA 29 CFR 1910.133 and the ANSI Z 87.1-1989 Standard. Detachable side protectors are NOT acceptable and must not be utilized.

In an effort to improve compliance and fashion at Penn, EHRS has partnered with Fisher Safety to produce the UVEX Genesis safety glasses with the Penn logo. The UVEX Genesis provides excellent clarity and improved fit, style and comfort.

The University is required to provide you with the protective eyewear necessary to perform your job safely. Contact EHRS if you have questions regarding the selection of protective eyewear.

Employee who wear prescription lenses while engaged in operations that involve eye hazards shall wear eye protection that incorporates the prescription in its design, or shall wear eye protection that can be worn over the prescription. Uvex Astro OTG 3001 safety glasses provide good protection over eyeglasses.

Eye and face PPE shall be distinctly marked to facilitate identification of the manufacturer. Each affected employee shall use equipment with filter lenses that have a shade number appropriate for the work being performed for protection from injurious light radiation. A listing of appropriate shade numbers for various operations follows.

Contact lenses may be worn in chemical work environments under appropriate safety eyewear.  Contact lenses do not protect eyes from chemical contact.  If contact lenses become contaminated, rinse the eye(s) using an eyewash and remove the lens.  Contact lenses that have been contaminated shoud be discarded.

Head Protection

Employees will wear a protective helmet (hard hat) when working in areas where there is the potential for injury from falling objects or exposed energized electrical conductors that could contact the head.  If there is a possibility of hitting protruding objects or pipes, a bump hat may be worn.  Head protection shall meet the requirements of American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection (most recent version).

Foot Protection

Protective footwear must be worn in areas where there is the potential for foot injuries from falling or rolling objects, from objects piercing the sole, or from exposed energized electrical conductors that could contact the feet.

Hand Protection

Hand protection must be worn to protect against hazards of skin absorption of harmful substances, biological agents, radioactive materials, severe cuts or lacerations, severe abrasions, punctures, chemical burns, thermal burns, or harmful temperature extremes.  Glove selection should be based on performance characteristics such as breakthrough time and permeation rate, conditions of use, and duration of use.  One type of glove will not protect from all hazards.  Gloves will wear out and must be inspected before use and disposed of when degraded or defective.  Latex gloves are not permitted for any activity.  When gloves are removed, hands should be washed thoroughly.

Body Protection

If chemical contamination exists, protective clothing that resists physical and chemical hazards should be worn over street clothes.  Lab costs are used to protect against chemical and biological spills, sprays, fine powders and other releases.  Fire resistant lab coats should be used when working with flammable materials.  Plastic or rubber aprons can be used to protect from corrosive or irritating chemicals.  Coveralls offer full protection of clothing.


Reviewed: 1/25/2019