The University of Chicago

Environmental Health & Safety


Personal Protective Equipment


All personal protective equipment (PPE) shall be provided, utilized and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition whenever deemed necessary by reason of hazards, processes or environment.


This policy applies to all employees who by nature of their job function have the potential to be exposed to chemical, physical, radiological or biological hazards which can cause illness, injury or impairment to any part of the body through absorption, inhalation, or physical contact.

Authority and Responsibility

Immediate Supervisors are responsible for:

  1. Ensuring PPE is available;
  2. Providing PPE as required;
  3. Providing PPE as required or upon request to all employees;
  4. Ensuring PPE is being used by each affected employee during all job tasks which require such protection;
  5. Conducting specific hazard assessments for personal protective equipment use upon request;
  6. Documenting purchase and distribution of all PPE; and
  7. Taking the appropriate corrective action in accordance with the University of Chicago’s Personnel Policy on Progressive Corrective Action, Section U703 for employees not wearing required PPE.

Environmental Health and Safety is responsible for:

  1. Assessing the workplace to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which necessitates the use of PPE;
  2. Communicating selection decisions to each affected employee and supervisor;
  3. Selecting and recommending PPE that properly fits each affected employee;
  4. Providing training in the proper use and care of PPE; and
  5. Documenting aforementioned hazard assessment components.

Employees are responsible for:

  1. Inspecting all PPE prior to its use;
  2. Wearing PPE upon the direction of their immediate supervisor;
  3. Participating in mandatory training;
  4. Notifying their supervisor when new PPE is necessary;
  5. Contacting Environmental Health and Safety when a hazard or process has changed which may render previously used PPE ineffective; and
  6. Notifying their supervisor of any changes which might impact the type of PPE they utilize.


PPE devices alone shall not be relied on to provide protection against hazards, but shall be used in conjunction with guards, engineering controls, administrative controls and sound manufacturing practices.

When selecting PPE, utilize the following considerations as a basic directive.

Contact Environmental Health and Safety at 773.702.9999 for PPE product recommendations.

Hand Protection

Hand protection shall be worn when hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances, severe cuts or lacerations, severe abrasions, punctures, chemical burns, thermal burns and harmful temperature extremes.

The type of hand protection used shall be based on the performance characteristics of the hand protection relative to the task(s) to be performed, conditions present, duration of use, and the hazards or potential hazards identified.

With respect to selection of gloves for protection against chemical hazards:

Gloves shall be removed before touching public objects such as telephones, elevator buttons, or door handles to avoid cross contamination.

Head Protection

Head protection shall be worn in areas where there is a potential for injury to the head from impact, flying or falling objects (e.g., working below other workers who are using tools and materials which could fall through grates), or electrical shock and burns.

Helmets for protection against impact and penetration of falling objects shall comply with the “American National Standard for Personal Protection – Protective Headwear for Industrial Workers Requirements” (ANSI) Z89.1.2014.

Eye/Face Protection

Suitable eye protection or face protection shall be worn when there is the potential for exposure to the eyes or face from flying particles, molten metal, chemicals, gases or vapors or potentially injurious light radiation. Side protection is required when there is a hazard potential from flying objects. Detachable side protectors (e.g., clip-on or slide-on shields) meeting the pertinent requirements are acceptable.

Eye protection shall be durable, comfortable and easy to clean. Persons whose vision requires the use of corrective lenses and who by nature of their job duties require eye protection shall wear goggles or a full face shield that can be worn over the prescription lenses.

There are four general classes of eye and face protection: safety glasses, face shields, goggles and welding helmets. The type of protection required shall be determined by the type and degree of the hazard and shall comply with ANSI Z87.1-2010 “American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection”.

Foot Protection

Foot protection shall be worn when there is the potential for injury to the feet from falling or rolling objects, objects piercing the sole of the foot, electrical hazards, hot surfaces and slippery surfaces. Safety toe shoes are required for all trades at the University of Chicago (e.g., electricians, building engineers, grounds).

Foot protection shall comply with ASTM F2412-05 or F2413-05.


Use of respirators shall be done in accordance with the Respiratory Protection Program.

Hearing Protection

Use of hearing protection shall be done in accordance with the Hearing Conservation program.

Fall Protection

Use of fall protection shall be done in accordance with the Fall Protection policy.

Body Protection

Full body protection shall be worn when there is a potential for contamination or exposure to other parts of the body (e.g., legs, arms, back, chest) from heat, splashes from hot metals and liquids, impacts, cuts, chemicals, and radiation.

Body protection includes the following:

Electrical Protective Devices

Rubber insulating equipment shall be used/worn to protect employees from shocks/burns while working on "live" electrical systems.

Listed below is the PPE that may be required for a specific electrical work project. All electrical PPE used at the University of Chicago must meet the requirements of NFPA 70E and this section.

The only type of insulated tools within the scope of this description are those with the internationally recognized symbol:  

Insulated tools must meet the requirements of specification ASTM F1505 or the IEC 900 standard. Dipping tools in plastic or wrapping handles with electrical tape does not meet requirements of an insulated tool.

Standard care is required for insulated tools as for any other tool. In addition, the insulating grips should be kept away from sharp edges, wire clippings, and other materials that could pierce the insulation. The tools must be kept clean. Solvents and other chemicals that could chemically attack the grip material should be stored and used clear from these tools. The provided package or a tool case that prevents the tool from contacting other tools and objects during storage is required.

Before each use, insulated tools must be visually inspected. In addition to normal checks for a standard tool of the same type, the grips should be visually inspected for cracks, holes, discoloration or wear. Do not use a tool that fails this inspection. Insulated tool grips usually have outer and inner insulation layers of contrasting colors. If the inner color is visible at any point through the outer layer, the tool must be taken out of service.

All rubber electrical personal protective equipment used at the University of Chicago must meet these specifications.

All electrical protective equipment shall be subjected to periodic electrical tests conducted in accordance with appropriate voltages identified by ASTM standards to reliably indicate whether the insulating equipment can withstand the voltage involved. Insulating equipment failing to pass inspections or electrical tests shall NOT be used by employees.

Rubber insulating equipment test intervals shall occur as follows:

Rubber goods are divided into a number of classes based on their maximum insulating ability. These classes are defined below. The associated color used to define the class is also given.

Note: If the insulating equipment has been electrically tested but not issued for service, it shall not be placed into service unless it has been electrically tested within the previous twelve months.

Meters. Digital multimeters, analog multimeters, and specialized meters for use on electrical/electronic equipment must meet specific requirements.

To enhance safety and assure conformance with regulations, all Digital Multimeters (DMMs) on site must have:

All departments using rubber insulating equipment shall make the appropriate arrangements for testing of such equipment.

Maintenance Schedules

PPE shall be inspected, cleaned and maintained by employees at regular intervals so it can be discarded, changed and/or decontaminated as deemed necessary. At a minimum, all PPE shall be discarded when it has become contaminated, worn, torn or has other integrity problems.

It is important to ensure that contaminated PPE which cannot be decontaminated is disposed of in a manner that protects employees from exposure to hazards while ensuring compliance with appropriate regulations.

Keep a testing log for each item that is utilized for electrical safety. Ensure that major tests are performed on time at a qualified laboratory and by competent people. Testing intervals are specified in OSHA regulations 29 CFR 1910.137(b)(2) and the associated Table I-6, and NFPA 70E Table 130.7(C)(7)(c). Currently, these regulations require tests by a qualified laboratory as follows:

 Note: Inspect all PPE before each use for tears, punctures, holes, cuts, cracks, embedded foreign objects and texture changes (e.g., swelling, softening, hardening, becoming sticky or inelastic).


Initial Training

Initial training shall be provided by Environmental Health and Safety. This training shall utilize the “Personal Protective Equipment” training booklet generated by Environmental Health and Safety which shall be updated to ensure consistency with changes in protective equipment and work processes. Each employee shall be trained in at least the following:

Each affected employee shall demonstrate an understanding of the aforementioned training and the ability to use PPE properly before being allowed to perform work requiring the use of PPE.


When there is reason to believe that any affected employee who has already been trained does not have the understanding and skill as required above, Environmental Health and Safety or the affected department shall retrain each such employee. Circumstances where retraining is required include, but are not limited to, situations where:


Environmental Health and Safety shall verify that each affected employee has received and understood the required training through a written certification containing the name of each employee trained, the date(s) of training and the subject of the certification.

Reviewed: May 2015