Personal Protective Equipment

It is the policy of UT Austin to maintain a safe and healthy work environment. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a necessary part of campus safety in minimizing individual exposure to workplace hazards. PPE should be used in conjunction with engineering controls, work practice controls, and administrative controls. PPE should not be the primary means to control a hazard as it is the last line of defense to protect the user from the hazard. PPE includes clothing and accessories designed to protect against safety and health hazards. It must be provided if there is a potential for your staff to:

  • Encounter hazards to the eyes, face, head, feet, or hands
  • Conduct work involving electrical, fall, or respiratory hazards

UT Austin employees (faculty, staff, and students) are responsible for wearing PPE to protect themselves from injury in the workplace. For any specific questions, contact EHS or your Departmental Safety Representative.

Contractors should follow their company’s Personal Protective Equipment Program and adhere to its requirements.

Construction contractors are required to use, at minimum, hard hats, safety glasses, and safety shoes on all projects. Contractors have the authority to remove any person from their jobsite who does not adhere to the project PPE requirements. UT employees should always check with the construction project team to verify PPE requirements prior to entering a jobsite.

Eye and Face Protection

Suitable eye or face protection is required to be worn when there is a potential for exposure to the eyes or face from potential hazards including but not limited to: flying particles, splashes and droplets, chemicals, dust and small particles, and potentially injurious light radiation.

There are four classes of eye and face protection: safety glasses, face shields, goggles, and welding helmets. The type of protection is determined by the type and degree of the hazard and is required to comply with ANSI 787.1-2015 “American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection”.

Employees whose vision requires the use of corrective lenses and whose job duties require eye protection, the employee must wear safety glasses, goggles, or a full face shield that can be worn over the prescriptive lenses. Alternatively, some departments provide vouchers to purchase prescription safety glasses. Prescription safety glasses need to be in accordance with ANSI 787.1-2015. Check with your department for more details.

Safety glasses must be worn when entering any construction site on all UT Austin campuses.

Skin and Body Protection

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

Body protection includes:

  • Boot covers;
  • Aprons;
  • Bouffant caps;
  • Tyvek suits; and
  • Coveralls.

Foot Protection

Foot protection is required when there is a 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. Foot protection shall comply with ASTM F2412-05 or F2413-05 as referenced in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.136.

Where a hazard is created from a process, environment, chemical, or mechanical irritant which would cause an injury or impairment to the feet by absorption or physical contact, other than from impact, footwear, such as boots, overshoes, rubbers, wooden-soled shoes, or their equivalent, shall be used.

Examples of situations which may require the use of protective footwear include:

  • Handling heavy objects and/or tools that could be dropped.
  • Work activities involving manual material handling carts, heavy pipes, or bulk rolls, all of which could potentially roll over an employee's feet.
  • Work involving sharp objects such as nails, tacks, large staples, scrap metal, etc., which could penetrate the sole of the shoe.

Some departments may provide vouchers to purchase safety shoes/boots. Check with your department for more details.

Closed toe shoes must be worn when entering any construction site on all UT Austin campuses. Often, contractors have requirements for protective toe shoes.

Head Protection

Hardhats are required to be worn in areas where this 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 that could fall) or electrical shock and burns.

Hardhats should comply with the “American National Standard for Personal Protection – Protective Headwear for Industrial Workers Requirements” (ANSI) Z89.1.2014.

Hardhats must be worn when entering any construction site on all UT Austin campuses.

Glove Chemical Compatibility

There are a variety of gloves that are made for a specific use. There is no one glove that protects against all hazards since chemical resistance varies by glove material. A PPE risk assessment should be completed to evaluate what hazards or potential hazards are present to be able to choose which type of glove that will protect the user. It is important to remember that procedures and tasks may have different hazards during each step of a process and may need multiple types of gloves to safely conduct their task.

Determining the Appropriate Gloves to Use

Glove Class Type Function
Light latex, neoprene, nitrile, or vinyl gloves
  • Disposable latex (powdered or non-powdered)
  • Disposable nitrile
  • Disposable vinyl

Protects against:

  • Biological hazards (human blood, body fluids, tissues, Bloodborne pathogens, specimens)
  • Relatively small volume chemical usage and minor splash potential
Light to heavy chemical resistant gloves
  • Natural rubber latex
  • Nitrile
  • Butyl
  • Neoprene
  • Viton II
  • Silver Shield

Protects against:

  • Specific chemical exposures based on chemical compatibility
  • Use for larger volumes of chemicals with splash and immersion potential

Note: When selecting glove size, length, and thickness, consider exposure:

  • Duration
  • Quantities
  • Task Activities
Insulated gloves
  • Terry cloth autoclave
  • Cryogenic

Protects against:

  • Hot liquids and equipment (autoclaves/ovens)
  • Open flames
  • Water bath
  • Oil bath

Protects against:

  • Cryogenic Liquids
Wire mesh gloves
  • Wire mesh

Protects against:

  • Live animals
  • Equipment with cut warnings

Resources

Lab Coat Laundry Service

Lab coats used to protect against routine contamination from hazardous biological and chemical materials should be cleaned. Lab coats should never be taken home to be cleaned, you must use appropriate lab related laundry equipment on campus (if available) or you must use a commercial laundry service. For more information refer to the Lab Coat Laundry Service page.

Lab Attire Policy

All personnel (faculty, staff, and students) in research and teaching laboratories are required to wear the appropriate clothing and PPE. For more information see UT Austin’s Laboratory Attire Policy (PDF).

Hearing Protection

UT Austin employees who have the potential for exposure to high levels of noise during their work activities may be required to wear hearing protection such as earplugs or earmuffs. EHS or the department safety representative will conduct an assessment to determine if hearing protection is necessary.

 For more information, visit UT Austin’s Hearing Protection Program page.

Respiratory Protection

All UT Austin employees (faculty, staff, and students) are required to wear a respirator if the following circumstances are determined:

  • An exposure assessment indicates that an inhalation hazard exists over the occupational exposure limit and requires respiratory protection; or
  • A job description, standard operating procedure, or emergency operating procedure requires a respirator to be worn.

For more information regarding respiratory protection, training, and other resources, visit the Respiratory Protection page.

Fall Protection

All UT Austin employees (faculty, staff, students) that are working at heights 4 feet and above and who are not working on a ladder, are required to wear fall protection on all UT Austin campuses. For more information regarding fall protection, training, and other requirements, visit the Fall Protection page. For specific questions, contact EHS or your Departmental Safety Representative.

Contractors should follow their company’s fall protection program and its requirements.