DATE: 9-12-03
Personal Protective Equipment Use In The Lab

Engineering controls are the primary methods for preventing employee exposure to hazardous chemicals. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a secondary article designed to ensure protection from hazardous chemicals. PPE use will vary depending on the chemicals hazards, and the effectiveness of engineering controls.
Eye washes and safety showers are provided in event of unforeseen exposures to lab chemicals. Their presence does not preclude the use of engineering controls and PPE. Lab employees must know the location of and become familiar with the operation of safety showers and eye wash stations.
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for purchased chemicals list the type of PPE recommended when using these materials. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) should also list necessary PPE.

1. General Precautions:
∑ PPE must be properly cleaned and maintained.
∑ Contaminated lab coats and other PPE must be left in the work area.
∑ Supervisors must determine the appropriate PPE for lab activities.
∑ EH&S can assist PIs or supervisors in PPE selection.

2. Selecting PPE:
∑ Choose PPE according to greatest degree of hazard likely to be encountered.
∑ Employees must be trained to use PPE and understand the limitations.
∑ PPE must fit the user properly.
∑ PPE should be inspected for degradation prior to each use.
3. Protective Clothing:

∑ Long-Sleeved lab coats or smocks shall be worn when using hazardous chemicals.
∑ Lab coats should be worn fully buttoned with the sleeves rolled down.
∑ Protective garments used where open flames are present, should be fire-resistant.
∑ Chemical resistant PPE such as aprons, boots, one piece suits must be worn if there is a significant risk of chemical splash.
∑ Launder or dispose of clothing contaminated with chemicals.
∑ Open toed shoes, shorts and skirts should not be worn when using hazardous chemicals

4. Eye and Face Protection
∑ Approved safety glasses (meeting the requirements of ANSI standard Z-87.1.) must be worn when handling chemicals or conducting tasks with potential for splashing or spraying hazardous materials.
∑ Safety goggles must be worn during tasks when a chemical splash of significant volumes of chemicals is likely.
∑ Face shields in combination with other eye protection should be worn when working with corrosive, cryogenic, explosive or highly hazardous chemicals.
∑ Specialized eyewear should be worn when there is a danger from lasers, ultraviolet, infrared, or intense visible light. Consult EH&S for more information.

5. Gloves
∑ Protective gloves should be worn when handling hazardous chemicals, glassware, sharp edged objects, corrosive materials, hot objects and cryogenic chemicals.
∑ Remove gloves before handling telephones, doorknobs, pens, notebooks and before leaving work area.
∑ Rinse or decontaminate gloves contaminated with toxic or hazardous chemicals before removal.
∑ Do not leave contaminated gloves unattended in the lab area.

6. Respiratory Protection
∑ Fume hoods and other laboratory ventilation must be used to prevent employee exposures to hazardous dusts, fumes, gases, mists, and vapors.
∑ Respirators should be used only when engineering controls are deemed to be inadequate.
∑ An evaluation of the chemical exposure potential must be done by the EH&S Department before respirator use is permitted.
∑ Respirator use shall be enrolled in the University’s Respiratory Protection Program that includes a hazard evaluation, training, air monitoring, fit testing and medical exams.
∑ Respirator wearers must be certified by a physician as physically able to wear the respirator.
∑ Respirator selection shall be approved by EH&S based on the nature of the hazard, the physical state of the chemical, the degree of exposure, and the preference of the wearer.

The University of Pittsburgh’s Chemical Hygiene Plan Committee has reviewed and approved this SOP preparation document as attested by the signatures of the Committee Chairperson and the Chemical Hygiene Officer.

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