Proper Personal Protective Equipment for Chemicals

The United States Department of Labor defines personal protective equipment (PPE) as equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. PPE should be used based on the task and can vary by different situations. The effectiveness of PPE, when working with chemicals or any other hazard, relies on workers using it correctly. When handling any chemical, refer to the specific chemical Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the appropriate use of the following:

  • Chemical-resistant gloves to protect hands
  • Tyvek suit for skin protection
  • Respirator to prevent toxic-fume inhalation
  • Face shield to protect the entire face and/or protective eye wear (e.g., goggles) to protect eyes

Handling Exposure

If you or someone you know has mishandled a potentially dangerous chemical, immediately:

  • Remove contaminated clothing
  • Rinse eyes or skin of affected areas with copious amounts of water
  • Report the incident per work site requirements
  • Refer to the SDS for the appropriate use of neutralizing creams or salves
  • Seek medical attention

Commit to PPE

Commit to using appropriate and sufficient PPE based on your situation. Lead by example and don’t turn a blind eye when you see misuse or inadequate use of PPE. Using the right PPE can be the difference between a smooth sailing project, or a potentially painful experience and reportable incident.

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