XV. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

A. Introduction:
Three basic controls for protecting Nicholls State University personnel and students from hazards include engineering, education, and enforcement. Effective engineering controls can eliminate most employee/student hazards and should be the first attempt to eliminate a hazard.

Where engineering controls alone cannot eliminate hazards, appropriate personal protective equipment shall be provided and properly selected, utilized and maintained.

B. Standards:
OSHA 29 CFR 1910 – General Industry, Subpart I – Personal Protective Equipment

  • .95  – Hearing Protection
  • .132 – General Requirements
  • .133 – Eye and Face Protection
  • .134 – Respiratory Protection
  • .135 – Head Protection
  • .136 – Foot Protection
  • .138 – Hand Protection

State of Louisiana
Loss Prevention Unit, Office of Risk Management

Equipment Management Program
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

C. Purpose:
The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) section is provided to ensure that needed PPE is properly selected, maintained, provided and used to protect Nicholls State University employees and students from recognized hazards.

D. Hearing Protection:
Hearing protection shall be worn in all areas designated “Hearing Protection Required”. These areas have been determined to have a noise rating above 90 decibels as measured on the A-Scale of a standard sound level meter.

Personal protective equipment in the form of disposable type ear plugs (sponge/self molding) is commonly used at Nicholls State University. These ear plugs are disposable and shall not be shared, and must remain in a sanitary condition. For cases requiring a permanent type of hearing protection (ear muffs or permanent ear plugs), approval must be obtained by the University Environmental Health and Safety Department. All forms of hearing protection shall conform to ANSI 53.19 standard.

E. General Requirements:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for eyes, face, head, and extremities, as well as PPE for protective clothing and respiratory devices shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition. Nicholls State University employees and students are responsible to maintain equipment assigned to them. It is the responsibility of the Supervisor or Instructor to perform necessary checks to insure that equipment has been properly maintained and insure that damaged equipment is properly replaced.

Personal Protective Equipment shall be provided by the department whenever it is necessary by reason of hazards of operations or environment, chemical hazard, radiological hazard, medical hazard, biohazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact.

F. Eye and Face Protection:
Personal Protective Equipment for the eyes and face is required where there is a reasonable probability of injury which can be prevented by utilization of the equipment. All eye and face protection shall meet the requirements of ANSI standard Z87.1 – Eye and Face Protection.

The following are situations where eye or face protection is required, but not limited to, machine operations involving flying objects and particles, corrosive liquids, chemicals (lab use), compressed air, welding/gas cutting operations, or areas of potential contamination of medical biohazards.

Eye and Face Protection must meet the following requirements:

  • Provide adequate protection, including side protection
  • Reasonably comfortable
  • Easily disinfected and cleaned
  • Maintained in accordance with manufacture specifications
  • Clearly identifiable as ANSI Z87.1 approved

G. Respiratory Protection:
Engineering controls, for example laboratory fume hoods, are provided to eliminate or reduce exposure to safe levels. It is the responsibility of supervisors and faculty to utilize these engineering controls as well as administrative controls to keep air contaminant exposure below the permissible exposure limit (PEL), if it exists. Where existing engineering controls are not adequate, it is their responsibility to determine the feasibility if installing additional controls, including substitution of less toxic materials, necessary to maintain exposures below the PEL. Respirators shall only be used to achieve compliance with a PEL when it is not feasible to do so with engineering or administrative controls. When respirators are used by employees or students at Nicholls State University their use is subject to the requirements of OSHA standard 1910.134, and each request will be reviewed by the University Environmental Health and Safety Department.

If the recommendation to wear a respirator is to provide comfort or added protection, it is considered “voluntary” protection. Voluntary use applies only if the employee or student is not exposed to hazards above the permissible exposure limit. Employees and students wearing dust mask or medical mask for the prevention of biohazard exposure do not need a medical evaluation.

H. Head Protection:
Safety hardhats shall be provided as necessary for the protection from impact and penetration from falling and flying objects. All head protection must meet ANSI Z89.1  standard.

Head protection may be necessary in construction work sites. Contact the Office of Safety for information and assistance concerning specific hard hat requirements.

I. Foot Protection:
Safety-toe footwear is currently not required for Nicholls State University employees. If conditions change, a hazard assessment shall be conducted with changes to foot protection requirements made. In the event Nicholls State University employees are required to work in construction work sites, construction PPE required shall be followed. All specific footwear shall meet ANSI Z41.1 standard.

J. Hand Protection:
Hand protection is required for Nicholls State University employees and students who are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption, severe cuts or lacerations, severe abrasions, punctures, or chemical burns. Contact the Office of Safety for assistance in selecting the proper hand protection. Additional information can be found in the Chemistry/Biology lab procedures.

Hand protection to prevent electrical shock shall be rubber insulated and leather glove protectors. Gloves shall be properly rated for the voltage. Rubber insulated sleeves, mats and tools may be necessary to prevent electrical shock from contact with energized conductors. Only in limited circumstances and when personnel are authorized, would work be performed on or near energized conductors.

K. Hazard Assessment:
Each Nicholls State University Department must assess the workplace it operates in and determine the hazards present, which require the use of PPE. Supervisors and faculty, with the assistance of the Environmental Health and Safety Department, must then select the proper PPE, communicate the selections to the affected employee or student in training, an assure the selection fits. A completed workplace hazard assessment form (Appendix A) must be completed with copies forwarded to the Environmental Health and Safety Department.

Appendix B (Job Safety Analysis) is an excellent tool for determining which type of PPE is required for a job task. The Environmental Health and Safety Department can provide training on Job Safety Analysis upon request.

L. Training:
Nicholls State University supervisors and faculty shall ensure that proper PPE training is provided. Minimum training shall include the following:

  • What PPE is required when performing job task
  • When PPE is required when performing a job task
  • How to obtain the required PPE
  • Proper use of PPE (to include proper donning/removing and fit testing the PPE)
  • Limitations of the PPE
  • Proper maintenance and disposal of PPE
  • How to request assistance
  • Enforcement of proper PPE usage
  • Identifying how and when to evaluate the PPE program

All training will be documented in areas related to the program and forwarded to the University Environmental Health and Safety Department.