The objective of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) program is to protect employees from the risk of injury by creating a barrier against workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment is not a substitute for good engineering or administrative controls or good work practices, but should be used in conjunction with these controls to ensure the safety and health of employees. Personal protective equipment will be provided, used, and maintained when it has been determined that its use is required and that such use will lessen the likelihood of occupational injury and/or illness.

This program addresses eye, face, head, foot, and hand protection. Separate programs exist for respiratory and hearing protection.

The UNI Physical Plant Personal Protective Equipment Program includes:

  1. Responsibilities of supervisors/managers, employees, and the University Environmental Health and Safety Office
  2. Hazard assessment and PPE selection
  3. Employee training
  4. Recordkeeping requirements
  5. Responsibilities


Supervisors/Managers: Supervisors and managers have the primary responsibility for implementation of the PPE Program in their work area. This involves:

  • Conducting workplace hazard assessments to determine the presence of hazards which necessitate the use of PPE.
  • Providing appropriate PPE and making it available to employees.
  • Ensuring employees are trained on the proper use, care, and cleaning of PPE.
  • Maintaining records on PPE assignments.
  • Supervising staff to ensure that the PPE Program elements are followed and that employees properly use and care for PPE.
  • Seeking assistance from the Environmental Health and Safety Office to evaluate hazards.
  • Notifying the Environmental Health and Safety Office when new hazards are introduced or when processes are added or changed.
  • Ensuring defective or damaged equipment is immediately replaced


Employees: The PPE user is responsible for following the requirements of the PPE Program. This involves:

  • Wearing PPE as required.
  • Attending required training sessions.
  • Caring for, cleaning, and maintaining PPE as required.
  • Informing the supervisor/manager of the need to repair or replace PPE.

University Environmental Health and Safety Office: The University Environmental Health and Safety Office is responsible for the development, implementation, and administration of the PPE Program. This involves:

  • Assisting with periodic workplace reassessments as requested by supervisors/managers or as determined by the Safety Office
  • Maintaining records on hazard assessments.
  • Providing training and technical assistance to supervisors/ managers on the proper use, care, and cleaning of approved PPE.
  • Providing guidance to the supervisor/manager for the selection and purchase of approved PPE.
  • Periodically reevaluating the suitability of previously selected PPE.
  • Reviewing, updating, and evaluating the overall effectiveness of the PPE Program.

Program Components

Hazard Assessment and Equipment Selection 

OSHA requires employers to conduct inspections of all workplaces to determine the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) and to help in selecting the proper PPE for each task performed. For each work site, a certificate must be completed which lists the findings of the inspection and the specific protective equipment needed.

Each supervisor/manager, with the assistance of the Environmental Health and Safety Office if requested, will conduct a walk-through survey of each work area to identify sources of hazards, including impact, penetration, compression, chemical, heat, dust, electrical sources, material handling, and light radiation. Each survey will be documented using the Hazard Assessment Certification Form (Appendix B), which identifies the workplace surveyed, the person conducting the survey, findings of potential hazards, and date of the survey.

Once the hazards of a workplace have been identified, the Environmental Health and Safety Office will determine the suitability of the PPE presently available and as necessary select new or additional equipment which ensures a level of protection greater than the minimum required to protect the employees from the hazards. Care will be taken to recognize the possibility of multiple and simultaneous exposure to a variety of hazards. Adequate protection against the highest level of each of the hazards will be provided or recommended for purchase.

Protective Devices 

All personal protective clothing and equipment will be of safe design and construction for the work to be performed and shall be maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition. Only those items of protective clothing and equipment that meet NIOSH, ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials) or ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards will be procured or accepted for use. Newly purchased PPE must conform to the updated standards which have been incorporated into the OSHA PPE regulations, as follows:

  • Eye and Face Protection - ANSI Z87.1-1989
  • Head Protection - ANSI Z89.1-2009
  • Foot Protection – ASTM F-2412-2005
  • Hand Protection - There are no ANSI standards for gloves, however, selection must be based on the performance characteristics of the glove in relation to the tasks to be performed.

Careful consideration will be given to comfort and fit of PPE in order to ensure that it will be used. Protective devices are generally available in a variety of sizes. Care should be taken to ensure that the right size is selected. (see Appendix A – General Guidelines for Choosing Personal Protective Equipment)

Eye and Face Protection 

Prevention of eye injuries requires that all persons who may be in eye hazard areas wear protective eyewear. This includes employees, visitors, contractors, or others passing through an identified eye hazard area. To provide protection for these personnel, supervisors/managers of such areas shall procure a sufficient quantity of goggles and/or plastic eye protectors which afford the maximum amount of protection possible. If these personnel wear personal glasses, they shall be provided with a suitable eye protector to wear over them.

Suitable protectors shall be used when employees are exposed to hazards from flying particles, molten metal, acids or caustic liquids, chemical liquids, gases, or vapors, bioaerosols, or potentially injurious light radiation.

  • Wearers of contact lenses must also wear appropriate eye and face protection devices in a hazardous environment.
  • Side protectors shall be used when there is a hazard from flying objects.
  • Goggles and face shields shall be used when there is a hazard from chemical splash.
  • Face shields shall only be worn over primary eye protection (safety glasses or goggles).
  • For employees who wear prescription lenses, eye protectors shall either incorporate the prescription in the design or fit properly over the prescription lenses.
  • Protectors shall be marked to identify the manufacturer.
  • Equipment fitted with appropriate filter lenses shall be used to protect against light radiation. Tinted and shaded lenses are not filter lenses unless they are marked or identified as such.

Prescription Safety Eyewear

OSHA regulations require that each affected employee who wears 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 lenses (i.e. goggles, face shields) without disturbing the proper position of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses. Personnel requiring prescription safety glasses must contact the Administrative Office to have their request for prescription safety glasses evaluated and processed.

Emergency Eyewash Facilities

Emergency eyewash facilities meeting the requirements of ANSI Z358.1 will be provided in all areas where the eyes of any employee may be exposed to corrosive or caustic materials. All such emergency facilities will be located where they are easily accessible in an emergency.

Head Protection 

Head protection will be furnished to, and used by, all employees engaged in activities where there may be hazards from falling or fixed objects. 

Foot Protection 

Safety shoes shall be required as necessary for all full-time, part-time, temporary employees and students identified as needing foot protection.  This type of protection shall be required if the work necessitates lifting or carrying dense, rigid articles or equipment; operating machinery that presents a hazard of foot injury; or constantly traversing areas where such activities take place.  Employees assigned to the following areas within the Physical Plant are required to wear safety shoes:

  • Area Mechanics
  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Environmental Systems Mechanics
  • Equipment Operators
  • Facility Mechanics
  • Greenhouse Caretakers
  • Groundskeepers
  • HVAC Technicians
  • Locksmiths
  • Painters
  • Pipefitters
  • Repairers
  • Steamfitters
  • System Control Technicians
  • Motor Vehicle Operator II
  • Utility Plant Operators I, II, and III
  • Utility Plant Maintenance Mechanics I, II, and III
  • Utility Plant Electronics & Instrumentation Techs II
  • Assistant Chief Operators
  • Boiler Operator I. II. And III

All safety footwear shall comply with ANSI Z41 PT 1999, “American National Standard for Personal Protection-Protective Footwear.”  Safety shoes must be kept in good condition and replaced when worn beyond repair.

Hand Protection 

Suitable gloves shall be worn when hazards from chemicals, cuts, lacerations, abrasions, punctures, burns, biologicals, and harmful temperature extremes are present. Glove selection shall be based on performance characteristics of the gloves, conditions, durations of use, and hazards present. One type of glove will not work in all situations. (see Appendix A)

Cleaning and Maintenance 

It is important that all PPE be kept clean and properly maintained. Cleaning is particularly important for eye and face protection where dirty or fogged lenses could impair vision. PPE should be inspected, cleaned, and maintained at regular intervals so that the PPE provides the requisite protection. Personal protective equipment shall not be shared between employees until it has been properly cleaned and sanitized. PPE will be distributed for individual use whenever possible.

It is also important to ensure that contaminated PPE which cannot be decontaminated is disposed of in a manner that protects employees from exposure to hazards.


Any worker required to wear PPE shall receive training in the proper use and care of PPE. Periodic retraining shall be offered  to both the employees and the supervisors/managers, as needed. The training shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following subjects:

  • When PPE is necessary to be worn. What PPE is necessary
  • How to properly don, doff, adjust, and wear PPE.
  • The limitations of the PPE.

The proper care, maintenance, useful life and disposal of the PPE.

After the training, the employees shall demonstrate that they understand the components of the PPE Program and how to use PPE properly, or they shall be retrained.


Written records shall be kept of the names of persons trained, the type of training provided, and the dates when training occurred. The Environmental Health and Safety Office shall maintain employees’ training records for at least 3 years. The
Environmental Health and Safety Office shall also maintain the Hazard Assessment Certification Form for each work site evaluated for at least 3 years.


Reviewed by EHS on 6/21/2022




General Guidelines for Choosing Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment Assessment




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Kelli Gaffney

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