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Monday, June 16, 2008

Personal Protective Equipment


Section 9: Personal Protective Equipment


Personal protective equipment (PPE) is designed to protect many parts of the body. It should act as a primary barrier between the hazard and the worker. It does not reduce the hazard. Personal protective equipment appropriate to the hazards must be worn. (Ontario Regulation 851 Sections 79-86)


All personnel in a laboratory should consult with their supervisor regarding protective equipment appropriate to the individual laboratory. (Ontario Regulation 851 Section 79) It is the responsibility of the supervisor to select the PPE appropriate to the work being done. The Canadian Standards Association publishes standards with information that may assist the supervisor with the selection. In some cases the department will pay for the PPE, in other cases PPE may be provided from research grant funds, or students may be required to purchase their own PPE.


It is the responsibility of anyone working in the lab to use the PPE that is required.
Personal protective equipment must not be considered the primary means of protecting the laboratory worker. Research procedures and engineering controls, such as fume hoods, must be considered first.


All the personnel in the lab should wear personal protective equipment, not just those actively working. Appropriate clothing should be worn at all times.

  1. Gloves
    There are many different types of protective gloves available and they should be chosen to offer the best protection for specific procedures and chemicals. Glove materials have different chemical resistances and should be checked with the manufacturer prior to selecting a specific type of glove.
    Always check the integrity of the glove before starting work.
    Use the correct technique to remove gloves before leaving the laboratory. Consider gloves to be contaminated after use and dispose of appropriately.
  2. Eye Protection
    An individual exposed to possible eye injury shall wear eye protection appropriate to the circumstances. Approved safety glasses with side shields are the minimum protection required in a laboratory. Goggles and face shields may also be required for certain procedures, as determined by the supervisor.
    In those cases where prescription safety glasses are required, the individual will provide them. Such glasses must meet all the requirements for safety glasses as specified by the CSA Standard for Eye and Face Protectors (CSA-Z94.3-99).
  3. Skin Protection
    Clothing should provide maximum coverage of skin in accordance with the risk of exposure. The supervisor should determine the specific requirements in each lab.
    When lab coats are used they should be
    • removed and hung up prior to personnel leaving the lab,
    • laundered separately from other clothing,
    • buttoned closed when worn.
    Rubber aprons should be worn when handling highly corrosive or reactive materials.
  4. Respiratory Protection
    Under normal circumstances respirators should not be required for laboratory situations. Use of fume hoods should generally eliminate respiratory hazards. If a respirator is required, the selection should be based on the CSA Standard, Selection, Use and Care of Respirators CSA – Z94.4-93. It is essential the wearer be properly instructed for fit and safe use of a respirator.
  5. Hearing Protection
    Hearing protection is required for noise levels above 90 dBA. (Ontario Regulation 851 Section 139) The supervisor will determine the appropriate type of hearing protection to be worn. (Hearing Protectors CSA-Z94.2-M1984) Measuring can be done by EHSS.
  6. Foot Protection
    Safety footwear is designed to protect feet against a variety of injuries. Impact, compression, chemical splashes and puncture are the most common types of injuries. Footwear should be chosen according to the hazard and should be properly rated. (Protective Footwear CSA-Z195-M92)
  7. Head Protection
    Head protection is required when working where there is a risk of injury from moving, falling, or flying objects or when working near high-voltage equipment. Hard hats are designed to protect from the impact and penetration caused by objects hitting the head or from limited electrical shock or burns.


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