Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

OSHA requires employers to use personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce employee exposure to hazards when engineering and administrative controls are not feasible or effective. Employers are required to determine all exposures to hazards in their workplace and determine if PPE should be used to protect their workers.

Eye and Face Protection


  • Ensure your safety glasses fit properly. Eye size, bridge size and temple length all vary. Safety glasses should be individually assigned and fitted.
  • Wear safety glasses so that the temples fit comfortably over the ears. The frame should be as close to the face as possible and adequately supported by the bridge of the nose.


Safety glasses need maintenance.

  • Clean your safety glasses daily. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. Avoid rough handling that can scratch lenses.
  • Scratches impair vision and can weaken lenses.
  • Store your safety glasses in a clean, dry place where they cannot fall or be stepped on. Keep them in a case when they are not being worn.
  • Replace scratched, pitted, broken, bent or ill-fitting glasses. Damaged glasses interfere with vision and do not provide protection.
  • Replace damaged parts only with identical parts from the original manufacturer to ensure the same safety rating.




Safety Glasses with Side Shields

protection against flying fragments, chips, particles, sand, and dirt

pipetting, handling closed hazardous containers, and mixing small quantities

Chemical Splash Goggles

have indirect venting for splash proof sides, which provide adequate protection against splashes

working with liquids under pressure, and pouring 1 pint to 1 liter of hazardous chemicals

Safety Goggles

offer adequate protection against flying particles

working with glassware under reduced or elevated pressure or with drill presses, grinders or other similar condition.

Face Shield

protect the face and neck from flying particles and splashes. Always wear additional eye protection under face shields.

working with acid or large amount of hazardous chemicals

Skin and Body Protection


  • Verify that your gloves are compatible with your specific application, process and materials before using them.
    • Most companies have glove compatibility charts available online.
  • Change your gloves whenever they appear soiled or worn; be alert for permeation of your gloves by the chemicals you are using.  Change gloves immediately if permeation occurs.
  • Be alert to any sensation of numbness, or tingling of your fingers or hands when working with chemicals.  Remove gloves, wash thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention for assistance.

*Latex gloves have been implicated in the exacerbation of latex allergies; powdered latex gloves have been shown to contain larger amounts of the latex protein allergen than non-powdered latex gloves.  If you suspect that you may have an allergy to latex, or have a propensity for allergic reactions and skin rashes, avoid the use of latex gloves.


Good Chemical Resistance

Poor Chemical Resistance

Natural Rubber Latex

Aqueous solutions, acetone, formaldehyde, alcohols, dilute mineral acids and bases

Many organic solvents, ethyl ether, chlorinated hydrocarbons, Perchloric acid, isocyanates


Aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, DMSO, formaldehyde, alcohols, most amines, ethyl ether

Chlorinated hydrocarbons, aldehydes, nitro compounds, isocyanates


Chlorinated aliphatic and aromatic solvents, ketones, THF, isocyanates, DMSO

Diethylamine, dimethylethylamine, 70% HF


Acids, alcohols, acetonitrile

Chlorinated solvents

Acid Resistant

Concentrated acids

Most organic solvents

Protective Clothing and Footwear

Skin and body protection involves the use of protective clothing to protect individuals from chemical exposure. Determine clothing needed for the chemical being used, as protective garments are not equally effective for every hazardous chemical. Some chemicals will permeate a garment in a very short time, whereas others will not.

  • The basic and most effective forms of protection are gloves and lab coats.
  • Protect exposed skin surfaces when there is a reasonable anticipation of a splash.
  • Open toed shoes and sandals are not permitted in labs.
  • Even when there is minimal danger of skin contact with an extremely hazardous substance, lab coats, coveralls, aprons, or protective suits should be utilized. These garments should not leave the lab.
  • Exposures to strong acids and acid gases, organic chemicals and strong oxidizing agents, carcinogens, and mutagens require the use of specialized protective equipment that prevents skin contamination. Impervious protective equipment must be utilized. Examples include rubber gloves, aprons, boots, and protective suits.

Hearing Protection

Hearing protection is required where noise levels exceed OSHA limits. Typically lab environments will not exceed those levels. Contact the CHO for evaluation of high nose areas or operations.

Respiratory Protection

Generally laboratories are provided with fume hoods to prevent situations where respirators would be necessary. Please see the Ventilation and Respiratory Protection Program for more information.

Page last modified December 20, 2016