PPE includes eye protection, gloves, maximum skin coverage, and closed-toe shoes. In some cases, safety such as aprons, respirators, splash shields, earplugs, and special gloves may be recommended or required.

If you feel you need respiratory protection, you should contact EHS. Wearing respirators, including the N95, requires a medical evaluation of the UVA before you can use the respirator. There are several steps to complete to comply with a respirator safety program, contact EHS, and we will assist you through this process and train you on how to operate and properly use your respirator. See our Respiratory Care Questions.

If you have any PPE questions or would like to discuss PPE options for your particular situation, contact EHS for assistance. We are here to train you to choose the best PPE for your long-term position and use PPE properly.

Why PPE Required?

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is designed to protect against serious injuries or illnesses caused by chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other hazards. 

People involved in chemical emergencies should be carefully selected from the risks affecting the respiratory system, skin, eyes, face, hands, feet, head, body, and hearing. Only a combination of protective equipment and clothing can protect against all dangers. 

Therefore PPE should be used along with other protection methods, including risk control policies and equipment.

PPE Option

Onsite Event Commander defines the required PPE ensemble based on the conditions in the scene. For first-time receivers and hospitals, PPE selection is based on the Institute’s chemical emergency procedures.

Guidance is available that can be used to select the appropriate PPE for a chemical emergency.

  • For First Defendant – OSHA / NIOSH Provisional Guidance: Chemical – Biological – Radiological – Nuclear (CBRN) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Selection Matrix for Emergency Response (OSHA, NIOSH, April 2005)
  • For Hospital Providers – First Hospital-Based OSHA Best Practices for Victims of Mass Casualty Incidents Release of Hazardous Substances (OSHA, January 2005)

PPE Levels

Personal protective equipment is divided into four categories based on the level of protection it provides.

Level-A protection should be worn when the respiratory, skin, eye, and mucous membranes require the highest protection level. A familiar story in the ensemble is:

  • Avoid SCBA with positive pressure (pressure-demand), self-regulating respiratory system (SCBA) (NIOSH approved), or positive-pressure air respiration.
  • The complete covering of chemical protection suits.
  • Gloves, interior, chemical resistant.
  • Gloves, external, chemical resistant.
  • Shoes, chemical resistance, steel toe, and shank; (Depending on the suit-boot structure, the suit can be worn under or over the boot.)

Level-B protection should be chosen when the highest level of respiratory protection is required, while the lowest level is necessary for skin and eye protection. Unless otherwise defined and defined by hazard identification, design, and other reliable analysis methods, the recommended minimum level B security in initial site entries. A typical level B ensemble includes:

  • Air respirators supplied with positive-pressure (pressure-desire), self-regulating breathing apparatus (NIOSH approved), or positive-pressure escape SCBA.
  • Chemical-resistant clothing (overalls and long sleeve jackets, cover soles, hooded two-piece chemical splash suit, non-reusable wear-resistant overalls).
  • Gloves, external, chemical resistant.
  • Gloves, interior, chemical resistant.
  • Footwear, exterior, chemical resistance, steel toe, and shank.

Level-C When the type of airborne material is known, abstraction is measured, protection should be chosen, standards for the use of air-purifying respirators and skin and eye contact are unlikely. The air should be monitored from time to time. A typical level C ensemble includes:

Full face or half mask, air-purifier respirator (NIOSH approved).

  • Chemical resistant clothing (one-piece cover, two-piece chemical splash suit, chemical resistant hood, and apron, disposable resistant overalls.)
  • Gloves, external, chemical resistant.
  • Gloves, interior, chemical resistant.
  • Shoes, steel toe, and shank, chemical resistant.

Level-D protection is mainly used for work uniform and noxious contamination only. It only needs cover and safety shoes/boots. The other depends on the PPE condition (a type of gloves, etc.). It should not be worn in any area where there are respiratory or skin hazards.

Type Of Protection

There are many types of protection devices, each with specific applications and usability requirements. Information on common topics of the PPE ensemble:


Respondents should use appropriate respirators to protect against adverse effects on respiratory health.

Eye And Face

To protect the eye and face, defendants must avoid the dangers of flying fragments, hot sparks, and chemical spills.


When the skin is exposed to harmful substances, skincare should be used.


Earplugs or earmuffs can help prevent hearing loss. Excessive noise levels can lead to irreversible hearing loss or weakness as well as physical and mental stress.

Elements Of the PPE Management Program

PPE usage requires the implementation of a maintenance program. Some aspects of an effective program are:

Respiratory Utilization Certification And Fit Testing

  • OSHA Respirator Fit Test

Training – OSHA Training Information 

  • PPE is the right donation
  • PPE Limitations
  • Management and maintenance of PPE
  • The useful life of PPE, disposal
  • At the top of the page

PPE Limitations

Decisions about the use of PPE should consider its limitations.

Safety Risks

  • Weight restricted movement
  • Limited vision due to visual field limitations
  • Difficulty communicating due to facial protection

Physical / Mental Stress

  • The psychological stress caused by defining the nature of the complete suite
  • Risk of heat stress and dehydration
  • The highest levels of PPE are usually not worn for more than 30 minutes.

Maintenance Requirements

  • Management programs are needed to ensure the effective use of PPE
  • Facial hair interferes with the proper mask
  • Improper use, penetration/tears are dangerous