Safety Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 2: General Workplace Safety

General Requirements for Personal Protective Equipment

SPPM 2.60

For more information contact:
   Environmental Health and Safety


This section describes procedures for ensuring that employees, students and visitors are protected from hazards through the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). (WAC 296-800-160)

Personal protective equipment is designed to protect the body from absorption, inhalation, physical contact, and extreme temperature hazards. Such hazards have the potential to cause bodily injury or impairment.

Personal protective equipment includes, but is not limited to:

  • Eye and face protection
  • Head protection
  • Hand protection
  • Protective footwear
  • Respiratory protective devices
  • Hearing protection

Required Use

University administrators, faculty, and supervisors are to ensure employees, students, and visitors have and use proper PPE in potentially hazardous situations.



The University selects and provides PPE when required by provisions in this section.


Supervisors are to:

  • Evaluate workplaces to identify hazards requiring the use of personal protective equipment;
  • Ensure that such requirements are communicated to employees and are clearly posted in areas where PPE is required; and
  • Ensure that employees are provided with and are trained in the proper use of personal protective equipment.


Employees and students are responsible for using PPE as described in this and other sections of the Safety Policies and Procedures Manual or whenever warranted by hazardous conditions.

Employees are to contact their supervisor or the campus Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) department with questions or concerns regarding workplace hazards and PPE.

Hazard Assessment

Supervisors must assess their workplaces to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which require the use of PPE.

To perform a hazard assessment, supervisors conduct a walk-through survey. Such a survey involves:

  • Observing work conditions and practices.
  • Obtaining information from employees.

Contact the applicable campus EH&S department for assistance with conducting hazard assessments, if desired.


Conduct a hazard reassessment whenever new equipment or processes are introduced, or personnel exhibit signs or symptoms of exposure indicating the need for PPE.

Hazard Categories

General hazard categories requiring assessment include, but are not limited to:

  • Impact/penetration
  • Noise*
  • Compression (rollover)
  • Chemical use and/or exposure
  • Extreme heat and cold exposure
  • Electrical hazards
  • Light (optical) radiation
  • Respirable hazards (dusts, mists, fumes, vapors)*
  • Other environmental factors which could impact worker safety

*The campus EH&S department provides support and guidance for noise (SPPM 2.64) and respiratory (SPPM 2.62) hazard assessments. See Campus EH&S.

PPE Hazard Assessment Guidelines

To assist in implementing this policy, EH&S provides PPE Hazard Assessment and Certification Guidelines. The guidelines include charts to assist supervisors in assessing workplace hazards and selecting appropriate PPE.

Laboratory units must use the Laboratory Safety Manual, section IV.B, Standard Operating Procedures–PPE Hazard Assessment and Training to assess chemical hazards and select appropriate protective equipment.

Contact the applicable campus EH&S department for a copy of the guidelines and/or to request a review of a workplace hazard assessment; telephone 509-335-3041.


After surveying work areas and practices, the supervisor documents the hazard assessment.

Use the certification form in the PPE Hazard Assessment Guidelines or create a memorandum to document and certify the assessment.

This documentation must identify all of the following:

  • The workplace evaluated
  • The person certifying that the assessment has been performed
  • The date(s) of the hazard assessment
  • The document as a certification of hazard assessment

The department must retain this hazard assessment certification document.

Hazard Control

Eliminate or reduce hazardous exposures by applying the following controls hierarchically when technologically and economically feasible. Campus EH&S personnel can assist departments by recommending and evaluating potential hazard controls.

Elimination Controls

Eliminating or removing the hazard is the most effective control.

Examples of elimination controls include de-energizing equipment prior to performing maintenance to prevent hazardous energy exposures.

Substitution Controls

Substitution controls involve replacing a more hazardous product, chemical, energy source, etc., with a less hazardous substitute.

Examples of substitution controls include substituting:

  • Ethanol (less flammable and toxic) for methanol
  • Bismuth (less toxic) for lead
  • Fiberglass for asbestos

Engineering Controls

Engineering controls are passive measures designed into the work environment to prevent contact with a hazard.

Examples of engineering controls are:

  • Changing process design
  • Installing barriers
  • Isolating or enclosing hazards
  • Using local ventilation

Administrative Controls

Administrative controls include:

  • Safety policies and procedures
  • Standard/safe work practices
  • Proper housekeeping practices
  • Employee training
  • Worker rotation to minimize worker exposure


When engineering and administrative controls are not feasible, timely, or do not completely eliminate a hazard, PPE must be used.

PPE Selection

Select PPE based on the types of hazards identified during the assessment.

Give careful consideration to:

  • Level of protection
  • Fit
  • Comfort
  • Material compatibility and durability (Note: This factor is particularly important for selecting chemical-resistant barriers, such as gloves.)

All PPE is to be of safe design and constructed for the specific work to be performed. Eye, face, head, and foot protection must meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifications.

The PPE Hazard Assessment Guidelines include charts to be used as a general guide in selecting appropriate PPE.

Contact the applicable campus EH&S department to request assistance in selecting suitable PPE. See Campus EH&S.

Employer-Provided Personal Protective Equipment

Employing and academic departments are responsible for providing and maintaining required PPE.

Department-provided PPE may include, but is not limited to:

  • Respirators (SPPM 2.62)
  • Impact safety glasses, goggles and face shields
  • Prescription safety glasses (SPPM 3.14)
  • Chemical goggles and face shields
  • Welding goggles, face shields and helmets
  • Laser-protective eyewear
  • Hard hats
  • Welding gloves
  • Cut-resistant gloves
  • Chemical gloves
  • Electrical gloves
  • Laboratory coats
  • Chemical resistant coveralls
  • Safety footwear (SPPM 3.16)
  • Hearing protection (SPPM 2.64)
  • Cryogenic gloves
  • Heat-resistant gloves
  • Nitrile gloves for custodial and other facility work

When an employee decides to supply any of the PPE listed above, the supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the equipment is:

  • Suitable for the hazard,
  • Provides the appropriate level of protection, and
  • Properly maintained.

University Stores carries a wide selection of certified/approved personal protective equipment. See BPPM 70.35.

Contact the applicable campus EH&S department or Purchasing Services for assistance in locating a vendor if an item is unavailable at University Stores.

Employee-Provided Equipment

Employees are to provide equipment that is personal in nature, except safety footwear and extreme cold weather apparel (see SPPM 3.16 and 3.42).

Examples of employee-provided equipment include, but are not limited to, items such as apparel appropriate for inclement weather normally expected in the area.


Employees inspect PPE before each use and after any incident that could impair the equipment’s effectiveness.

Inspect PPE in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.

Defective/Damaged Equipment

Employees and supervisors take defective and damaged equipment out of service.

The department repairs/replaces PPE in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.

Maintenance and Storage

Employees are to maintain and store PPE in a sanitary and reliable condition in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.


The department provides clean facilities (i.e., sealable container, locker, or cabinet) for employees to store their PPE.


The department provides cleaning supplies specified by the manufacturer at the storage location.


The supervisor is to ensure that each employee assigned PPE is adequately trained.

Employees must receive information and training about:

  • When, what, and why PPE is necessary.
  • Personal protective equipment selection criteria.
  • How to properly don, remove, adjust, and wear PPE.
  • Uses and limitations of PPE.
  • Proper care, inspection, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of PPE.

Determining Employee Understanding

Each employee must demonstrate an understanding of the training elements before being allowed to perform work requiring the use of PPE.

Acceptable methods of determining employee understanding include:

  • Orally questioning the employee.
  • Observing the employee using the PPE in an artificial/real setting.
  • Administering a written test.


An employee must be retrained when there has been either of the following changes:

  • A change in the workplace, such as new equipment or processes, which render the previous training obsolete.
  • A change in the type of personal protective equipment being used, requiring additional training.

An employee must also be retrained in either of the following cases:

  • The written test or oral questioning indicates inadequate employee knowledge.
  • The use of assigned personal protective equipment indicates the employee has not retained the requisite understanding or skill.

Sources of Training Information

WSU provides access to safety training content through the Human Resource Services Employee Training and Development website.

For further information concerning safety training resources, see the EH&S website.


Supervisors are to document that each affected employee has received and understood the training.

The documentation must include the following all of the following:

  • Employee name
  • Subject of training
  • Date(s) of training
  • Training presentation format (e.g., PowerPoint, video, discussion)

Note: Trainings registered and documented through HRS’ Employee Training and Development, e.g., WSU instructor-led training sessions, are automatically documented in the employee Learning Transcript.

Use the training report template included in the PPE Hazard Assessment and Certification Guidelines or create a memorandum to certify and document employee training.

Records Retention

Departments are responsible for ensuring that training documentation is retained in accordance with the University records retention schedules (see BPPM 60.71 and 90.01).


Call the applicable campus EH&S department for assistance with:

  • Performing hazard assessments.
  • Selecting PPE.
  • Conducting training.

Campus EH&S

Supervisors may contact the applicable campus EH&S resource for assistance:

  • WSU Pullman EH&S: telephone 509-335-3041
  • WSU Spokane EH&S: telephone 509-358-7621

    Note: WSU Spokane EH&S also provides information and assistance to WSU Health Sciences—Yakima (which includes College of Nursing—Yakima and College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences—Yakima).

  • WSU Tri-Cities EH&S: telephone 509-372-7163
  • WSU Vancouver EH&S: telephone 360-546-9706

Personnel at WSU locations not listed above (e.g., research and extension stations) may contact WSU Pullman EH&S for hazard assessment assistance.

Revisions:  Apr. 2021 – moved from SPPM 3.10 (Rev. 128); Aug. 2008 (Rev. 76); Apr. 1999 (Rev. 22); Oct. 1988 (Rev. 5); Feb. 1987 (Rev. 3).