NC STATE Home Page NC STATE UNIVERSITY - Environmental Health and Safety 2620 Wolf Village Way Cmpus Box 8007, Raleigh NC 27695  Phone 919.515.7915 FAX 919.515.6307 NC STATE Home Page





Types of Personal Protection Equipment:



The primary methods for preventing employee exposure to hazardous materials are elimination, engineering and administrative controls. Where these control methods are not appropriate or sufficient to control the hazard, personal protective equipment (PPE) is required.
A work area assessment is required to determine the potential hazards and select the appropriate PPE for adequate protection. Employees must receive training which includes the proper PPE for their job, when this PPE must be worn, how to wear, adjust, maintain, and discard this equipment, and the limitations of the PPE. All training must be documented.

At N.C. State University, the minimum protective equipment required for a “no touch” visit to a laboratory where chemical, biological, radiological, or mechanical hazards are present is protective eye wear.  For labs where chemical, biological, radiological hazards may present a risk to the visitor a lab coat should also be provided.

Minimum protective equipment for work in a laboratory where chemical, biological, radiological, or mechanical hazards are present includes a lab coat, protective eye wear, long pants and closed toe shoes.  This clothing shall be supplemented, as necessary, with the appropriate gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary for the tasks to be performed.

Please review the information and helpful links on this page for proper PPE selection and assessment for additional task specific requirements.


To ensure the proper selection, use, and care of PPE through work area hazard assessments and appropriate employee training.


Each department is responsible for:

1. Identifying the appropriate PPE based on the hazards of the task/ work area. See PPE Selection Considerations in the EHSC home page to assist you with this assessment.
2. Providing and paying for required PPE. Assure appropriate equipment is available
3. Enforcing the proper use of PPE
4. Maintaining PPE in a clean and reliable condition (clean, sanitary, replace worn or defective parts)
5. Training employees (document the training) on the following:

    a. When PPE is needed
    b. What PPE is needed
    c. How to properly put on, adjust, wear, and remove the PPE
    d. Useful life and limitations of the PPE
    e. Proper care, storage, and disposal of the PPE

Types of Personal Protective Equipment

Eye and Face Protection

Faculty, staff, students, contractors, and visitors shall wear the appropriate eye and face protection when working with or around hazardous chemicals/materials/equipment including but not limited to:

  • Handling of hot solids, liquids, or molten metals
  • Flying particles from chiseling, milling, sawing, turning, shaping, cutting, etc.
  • Heat treatment, tempering, or kiln firing of any metal or other materials
  • Lasers
  • Intense light radiation (UV and IR) from gas or electric arc welding, glassblowing, torch brazing, oxygen cutting, etc.
  • Repair or servicing of any vehicle
  • Working with or around chemicals and gases

Eye protection choices include the following:

Safety Glasses

Ordinary prescription glasses do not provide adequate protection. Eye protection must conform to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Standard Z87.1-1989. Look for this stamp on the inside of the safety glass frame. Prescription safety glasses are recommended for employees who must routinely wear safety glasses in lieu of fitting safety glasses over their personal glasses. All safety glasses shall have side protection. Whenever protection against splashing is a concern, "Chemical Splash Goggles" must be worn. See the Eye and Face Protection Selection Guide for further information.


Use - Goggles are intended for use when protection is needed against chemicals or particles. Impact protection goggles which contain perforations on the sides of goggle are not to be used for chemical splash protection, therefore are not recommended. Splash goggles which contain shielded vents at the top of the goggle are appropriate for chemical splash protection, and also provide limited eye impact protection. Goggles only protect the eyes, offering no protection for the face and neck. See the Eye and Face Protection Selection Guide for further information.

Face Shields

Full face shields provide the face and throat and partial protection from flying particles and liquid splash. For maximum protection against chemical splash, a full face shield should be used in combination with chemical splash goggles. Face shields are appropriate as secondary protection when implosion (e.g. vacuum applications) or explosion hazards are present. Face shields which are contoured to protect the sides of the neck as well as frontal protection are preferred. See the Eye and Face Protection Selection Guide for further information.

Eye Protection for Intense Light Sources

(welding, glassblowing, gas welding, oxygen cutting, torch brazing, laser use, etc.)

The radiation produced by welding covers a broad range of the spectrum of light. Exposure to ultraviolet light (UV-B) from welding operations can cause "welders flash", a painful inflammable of the outer layer of the cornea. Arc welding or arc cutting operations, including submerged arc welding, require the use of welding helmets with an appropriate filter lens. Goggles with filter plates or tinted glass are available for glassblowing and other operations where intense light sources are encountered, including but not limited to, gas welding or oxygen cutting operations. Spectacles with suitable filter lenses may be appropriate for light gas welding operations, torch brazing, or inspection. See Filter Lenses for assistance in selection of appropriate shade selection. Users and visitors to Laser use areas (the laser nominal hazard zone) must be protected with suitable laser protection eye wear. Contact the laser manufacturer or the NCSU laser safety officer (919-515-6860) for assistance in selecting laser eye wear. See Class 3b and Class 4 Lasers for further information on lasers.

Hand Protection

Employees shall use hand protection when exposed to hazards including:

Skin absorption of harmful substances
Severe cuts
Severe abrasions
Chemical burns and irritation
Thermal burns
Harmful temperature extremes

Wear proper hand protection whenever the potential for contact with chemicals, sharp objects, or very hot or cold materials exists. Select gloves based on the properties of the material in use, the degree of protection needed, and the nature of the work (direct contact necessary, dexterity needed, etc.). Check the Hand Protection Reference Guide for assisting you in selecting the proper gloves for your task. Leather gloves may be used for protection against sharp edged objects, such as when picking up broken glassware or inserting glass tubes into stoppers. When working at temperature extremes, use insulated gloves. Materials such as Nomex and Kevlar may be used briefly up to 1000 F. Do not use gloves containing asbestos. Asbestos is regulated as a carcinogen under OSHA. When considering chemical gloves, note that glove materials will be permeated (pass through) by chemicals. The permeation rate varies depending on the chemical, glove material, and thickness. Double gloving is recommended when handling highly toxic or carcinogenic materials. Before each use, inspect the gloves for discoloration, punctures and tears. Before removal, wash gloves if the glove material is impermeable to water. Observe any changes in glove color and texture, including hardening or softening, which may be indications of glove degradation. The Fact Sheet section of the EHSC home page contains a Skin Protection checklist, which is a short summary of skin protection factors to consider.

Body Protection

Employees working around hazard materials or machinery shall not wear loose clothing (e.g. saris, dangling neckties, necklaces ) or unrestrained long hair. Loose clothing, jewelry, and unrestrained long hair can become ensnared in moving parts of machinery or contact chemicals. Finger rings can damage gloves and trap chemicals against the skin.
Where contact with hazardous materials with your protective clothing is likely, such as during spill cleanup or pesticide application, polyethylene- coated Tyvek or similar protective clothing should be used to provide additional protection . The limitations of the protective clothing must always be understood, particularly in situations where contact with the material is likely.
Employees should know the appropriate techniques for removing protective apparel, especially any that has become contaminated. Special procedures may need to be followed for cleaning and/or discarding contaminated apparel. Chemical spills on leather clothing accessories (watchbands, shoes, belts and such) can be especially hazardous because many chemicals can be absorbed in the leather and then held close to the skin for long periods. Such items must be removed promptly and typically be discarded to prevent the possibility of chemical burns. In addition, protective aprons and sleeves may be required when working with large volumes of corrosive material.

Lab Coat Selection

Buttoned, long lab coats are required in all NCSU laboratories at all times to minimize clothing contamination and skin exposure to hazardous chemicals. They also provide some temporary protection against fire. 100% cotton lab coats are the minimum required body protection in labs. Polyester or poly-cotton blend lab coats may be acceptable, but only after being approved by EH&S for a specific application. Although, most lab coats are not designed to be impermeable to hazardous substances or flameproof, they provide additional safety because they can be quickly removed to isolate harmful exposures or flames.

To minimize body exposures in the lab and provide some temporary protection against fire, adhere to the following:

  1. Be aware of limitation of each type of the lab coat
  2. Make sure that additional protective measures are selected and in use based on the hazard reviews
  3. Lab coats may not be taken home to be laundered. They are not to be worn in public places such as offices, classrooms not associated with labs, break rooms, bathrooms, etc.
  4. Contact EH&S for any questions (919-513-1282)
  5. Read NCSTATE University Lab coat Selection Guideline and select your lab coat based on the type of the lab activities/hazardous material used.
  6. Only long pants are to be worn with lab coats, no shorts.

Occupational Foot Protection

Safety toe footwear shall conform to the requirements and specifications of ASTM-F 2413 March 2005, "American Standard Test Method"

Wear proper shoes, not sandals or open toed shoes, in work areas where chemicals are used or stored. Perforated shoes, sandals or cloth sneakers should not be worn in areas where mechanical work is being done.

Safety shoes are required for protection against injury from heavy falling objects (handling of objects weighing more than fifteen pounds which, if dropped, would likely result in a foot injury), against crushing by rolling objects (warehouse, loading docks, etc), and against laceration or penetration by sharp objects.

The state personal protective equipment policy stipulates that employees who are required to wear safety shoes will be eligible for departmental reimbursement up to $100.

Pullovers, worn over regular shoes, are available for protection against certain chemicals. These boots are made of a stretchable rubber compound and are well suited for cleaning up chemical spills.

There is also specific information on Foot Protection available.

Respiratory Protection

See the Respiratory Protection section of this Health and Safety manual for more information. Respirators may not be used without prior approval from the Industrial Hygiene section (919-515-6862) of the Environmental Health and Safety Center. This assures that respirators are properly selected, users are properly trained, and the appropriate medical exams are conducted according to OSHA regulations.

Hearing Protection

Exposure to noise in excess of 85 dBA for 8 hours requires participation in a hearing conservation program. This program includes training and audiometric exams, among other requirements. Please contact EHSC at 919-515-6862 if you feel your noise exposure may be excessive. The Hearing Conservation section of this Health and Safety manual for more information.

Occupational Head Protection

Helmets designed to protect the head from impact and penetration from falling/flying objects and from limited electric shock and burn shall meet the requirements and specifications established in ANSI Z89.1- 1986, "Requirements for Industrial Head Protection". For more information contact EHSC at 919-513-0988.

Electrical Protection

Specific design and performance, use, and care requirements apply to protective equipment used for isolation against electrical hazards. Persons selecting for purchase, maintaining, and using such equipment (insulating blankets, matting, covers, line hose, gloves, and sleeves made of rubber) must be familiar with these requirements (refer to 29 CFR 1910.137). See the Electrical Safety section of this Health and Safety manual or contact EHSC at 919-513-0988 for additional information. Lockout / Tagout procedures must be followed and any live electrical work will require a permit. Arc flash protection may be necessary, see the NCSU Boundary Approach chart for more info.