Environmental Health & Safety

University of Colorado Boulder


Occupational Safety and Health Policy

This Environmental Health & Safety guideline documentation is intended for operations and maintenance personnel.

Revised as of August 1, 2001

Topic: Personal Protective Equipment Policy and Procedure

Date: August, 2001

Approved by:

Author(s): Cindy Davis, Risk Management; Ed Polluconi, EH&S; Jeff Fisher, Jack Miller, Dave Myzak, Mike Smith, Facilities Management Safety Committee PPE Task Force Members

Distribution: Facilities Management Supervisors and Managers; Facilities Management Safety Committee Member

Policy Statement

It is the policy of the Facilities Management Department of the University of Colorado Boulder to assess workplace hazards and provide personal protective equipment as required, to protect employees from work place hazards. This Personal Protective Equipment Policy and Procedure, based on the Occupational Safety and Health Act, CFR Part 1910.132-139, Personal Protective Equipment Standard, is part of the overall occupational safety and health program for the department. It is the responsibility of all employees to follow the requirements of this policy and procedure where they pertain to their respective activities and job duties.


The purpose of this program is to help employees work safely in their environments by identifying and assessing workplace hazards, eliminating or reducing the hazards where feasible through engineering and administrative controls, then providing for the proper
use of personal protective equipment to further reduce the potential for exposure to workplace hazards. It requires the participation of administration, supervisors, and all affected employees to:

  • Identify and assess workplace hazards
  • Identify, evaluate and assess workplace improvements to reduce
  • Provide personal protective equipment based on hazard
  • Ensure proper use and maintenance of personal protective


This policy and procedure applies to all Facilities Management employees whose job requires them to work in an environment where potential for exposure exists to physical, chemical, radiological, or mechanical irritants capable of causing injury through absorption, inhalation or physical contact. It applies to the use of personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, extremities, protective clothing, respiratory protective equipment, and hearing protection. The following procedures are not all inclusive; however the use of the hazard assessment and good judgment will further define circumstances in which PPE will be necessary for the protection, health, and safety of employees.



Provide financial and administrative support to the supervisors and employees to ensure the Personal Protective Equipment Policy & Procedure is effectively communicated and implemented to achieve the purpose as stated above.


Ensure hazard assessments are conducted for operations within their operations, provide required personal protective equipment to affected employees based on hazard assessment, ensure employees receive required training on proper use of personal protective equipment, and ensure compliance with the use of equipment by employees under their supervision.


Attend required training. Properly use required personal protective equipment for designated hazardous work exposures. Provide proper care and maintenance of assigned PPE, and properly dispose of defective or damaged PPE. Notify supervisor of any concerns regarding the need for hazard assessments or specific needs for PPE. Training Manager
Maintain required training records. Work with supervisors to ensure new employees receive required personal protective equipment training.

Environmental Health & Safety/Risk Management

Provide technical support for hazard assessments upon request from supervisors. Provide assistance with selection of proper personal protective equipment based on hazard assessments and assist with providing required training.

Training Requirements

All affected employees shall receive instruction on requirements for personal protective equipment; and proper selection, use and care of personal protective equipment. Training shall be offered to all affected employees upon implementation of the policy, then upon initial assignment to a position requiring the use of personal protective equipment. Training will include:

  • When PPE is necessary;
  • What PPE is necessary;
  • How to properly wear and adjust PPE;
  • Limitations of PPE
  • Proper care, maintenance, useful life and disposal of PPE

Retraining will be required whenever

  • Changes in the workplace render previous training obsolete;
  • Changes in the types of PPE to be used render previous training obsolete;
  • An employee’s knowledge, failure to use, or improper use of PPE indicates the employee has not retained the required understanding or skill.

Training records will be retained to document and certify names of employees trained, date(s) of training, and subject of training.


Hazard Assessment

Work areas and operations will be assessed to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present that require the use of personal protective equipment to adequately protect employees. Personal Protective Equipment will be selected and provided based on the assessment. See Appendix A for Hazard Assessment Form and guidelines for hazard assessment.

Eye and Face Protection

The type of eye and face protection required is based on the type of hazard. Safety glasses are the most common form of protective eyewear; however other types of protection such as goggles and face shields may also be required based on the hazard assessment. Eye or
face protection is required when employees are exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.

Safety Glasses

Safety glasses are required to be worn by all personnel whenever they perform, observe, or supervise work operations where there is a reasonable possibility of injury to the eyes that could be prevented by such protection. Side shields are required when there is a hazard from
flying objects. Safety Glasses are required for the following operations:

  • Electrical work
  • Soldering
  • Working with hand or power tools
  • Working in dusty conditions
  • Working with chemicals
  • Working overhead where particles could fall in eyes

Employees who wear prescription lenses while engaged in operations that involve eye hazards are required to wear prescription safety glasses or wear eye protection that can be worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses.

Safety Goggles and Face Shields

When working with hazardous chemicals, goggles with splash proof vents are required. If there is a danger of splashing, a face shield is required in addition to the goggles.

Grinding or chipping operations require either impact type goggles or a face shield. If the hazard warrants, both goggles and a face shield may be necessary. Face shields provide an additional measure of protection for the face and eyes when used with safety glasses or goggles.

Safety goggles shall be worn over eyeglasses when the work being performed requires them.

Specific examples of work operations requiring safety goggles instead of safety glasses include:

  • Drilling, chipping, or operating power saws
  • Working where dust and shavings are likely to be generated
  • Handling solvents or chemicals

Specific examples of work operations requiring use of face shields include grinding and string trimming operations.

Welding operations require welding helmets with appropriate filter lenses. Welder’s helpers and observers are also required to use either welding goggles or welding helmets during welding operations.

Eye and Face protection equipment shall comply with ANSI Z87.1-1989 standard, “American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and face Protection.” All eye and face protection equipment shall display the ANSI stamp or marker.

Head Protection

Hard Hats

Hard hats must be worn whenever employees perform, observe, or supervise work operations where there is a potential for head injury from falling objects. The hard hat to be used is a class “B” type due to working around electricity. Some examples of work operations or locations requiring a hard hat include:

  • Possibility of impact or penetration by stationary, falling, or flying objects
  • Work areas assigned as hard hat areas
  • Working in excavations
  • Entering or working in utility holes
  • Working in confined spaces (steam tunnels)
  • Flagging traffic
  • Possibility of electrical contact
  • Working aloft, such as in aerial lift trucks
  • When workers are overhead
  • Operating fork lifts

Bicycle Helmets

When a bicycle is ridden during employment hours an approved bicycle helmet is required.


Employees are required to wear protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects or objects piercing the shoe.

Boots must have perpendicular heels when working on round rung ladders.

General considerations for appropriate footwear are:

  • Soles and heels of footwear made of material that will resist penetration and does not create a slipping hazard.
  • Maintain all footwear in good condition. Footwear that has deteriorated to the point that it does not provide the required protection will not be used.
  • Never wear shoes made of canvas or other thin materials, softsoled, open toed sandals, or similar types of shoes in the work environment.
  • Management is responsible for determining what constitutes proper footwear in the local environment and assuring that appropriate footwear is used.

Hand Protection

Work gloves should be worn when hazardous conditions exist that could case hand injury. Examples include:

  • Handling equipment with rough edges
  • Using shovels
  • Handling jackhammers
  • Working with rakes
  • Climbing ladders

Chemical resistant gloves must be worn to protect the hands from chemical exposure according to the chemical’s material safety data sheet (MSDS).

Wearing Apparel

Wear appropriate shirts and long pats that offer protection from work place hazards.

Do not wear clothing that has loose or surplus material.

Secure long hair out of the way of machinery or other snag hazards.

Never wear scarves and jewelry around power equipment.

Respiratory Protection

Respiratory protection is required when exposure to potentially hazardous air contaminants, such as vapors from chemicals or paints Exceed OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) and cannot be controlled by engineering methods. Disposable respirators or dust masks may be worn to protect from nuisance dusts only. Do not use dust masks for protection from chemical or paint vapors.

Employees are not allowed to wear a respirator unless authorized in accordance with the University Respiratory Protection Program. Refer to the EH&S Policy on Respiratory Protection.

In general, authorization requires

  • Identification of approved respirators with proper filters for the hazard presented
  • Initial medical evaluation and scheduled program for continued evaluation
  • Fit Test and training by EH&S

Hearing Protection

Hearing protection is required to protect against noise induced hearing loss from excessive exposure to high noise levels. Sound Levels at 85 decibels or above are considered high noise levels as defined by the OSHA Hearing Conservation Standard and require the use of hearing protection.

Always use hearing protection:

  • When the work area is excessively noisy, or whenever normal conversation is not easily understood at a distance of five feet
  • If you are working within 20 feet of equipment or work areas labeled for hearing protection
  • When operating a jack hammer
  • When operating tractors and power tools in excessively noisy environments

Note: A separate safety policy on Hearing Conservation defines specific requirements for hearing protection, based on the Occupational Health & Safety Standard, 1910.95.

Electrical Protection

The following equipment is required when necessary and practical

Insulating Gloves

  • Check expiration date
  • Check inside of gauntlet for sharp particles
  • Squeeze rubber gloves to test elasticity
  • Pull fingers apart and look for yellow to show through
  • Pull gloves inside out and pull fingers apart again, looking for black to show through
  • Turn right side out air up and feel for leaks with cheek

Storing Gloves

  • Place cotton liners face to face
  • Place rubber gloves with palms facing cotton liners
  • Place leather gauntlet gloves with palms facing away from rubber gloves
  • Place gloves in storage bag, insert open end of gloves in bag first
  • Store bag by hanging gloves in the position so that the glove fingers will be facing upward so that any moisture will drain from gloves

Care and Maintenance of PPE

Personal protective equipment must be inspected daily before use and maintained properly. Equipment that is damaged or excessively worn should be disposed of.

For eye protection, inspect lenses for scratches and any other damages. Maintain in good, clean condition. Store in appropriate location, and replace when damaged.

For hard hats, the hard hat shell should be inspected daily for cracks, dents, cuts scratches, gouges or abnormal color or pattern. Hard hat suspension should be inspected daily for signs of wear on all parts, twisted or frayed straps, cracks or tears on plastic clips. If any part of a hard hat does not pass inspection, replace the shell, suspension or both.

If a hard hat sustains a hit by an object, or is dropped with enough force that damage is likely, it should be replaced even though there may not be visible signs of damage.

Clean both the shell and suspension of the hard hat on a regular basis. Use mild soap and water only, not petroleum based cleaning agent or solvent. Cleaning prevents dirt and stains from hiding small cracks or flaws.

Employee Owned Equipment

When employees provide their own protective equipment the supervisor must be informed. Equipment must be assessed to assure its adequacy, including proper maintenance, and sanitation of such equipment.