Personal Protective Equipment Program

The program describes the selection, maintenance and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at CSUN.

I.  Purpose/Scope

The purpose of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Program is to establish a comprehensive approach toward controlling potential accidental employee injuries on campus and to reduce/prevent exposure to specified physical hazards when/where needed.   The requirements of this document apply to all employees when working in conditions requiring personal protective equipment.  This program does not apply to workplace operations regulated by Cal/OSHA’s High Voltage Electrical Safety Orders or to their Construction Safety Orders.

Good safety practices should not rely on PPE alone to control all possible hazards.  To enhance injury prevention, the proper use of PPE will be required after guarding, engineering and administrative solutions are deemed inadequate or impractical as determined by the employee’s department management and EH&S. 

II.  Definitions

    • Airborne contaminant:  a harmful, irritating, or nuisance material, in the form of gas, dust/particulate, mist, or fumes, that is foreign to the normal atmosphere.

    • Clothing: refers to whatever may be worn by the employee as protection for any body part.

    • Combination of hazards:  a workplace situation where more than one hazard is present concurrently, such as exposure to non-ionizing radiation, toxic gasses and flying hot particles when welding.

    • Excessive heat/flame: working conditions that create the possibility that heat illness could occur, including air temperature, relative humidity, radiant heat from the sun and other sources, conductive heat sources such as the ground, air movement, workload severity and duration, protective clothing and personal protective equipment worn by employees.

    • Excessive sound:  exposure to an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) noise level of 85 dBA or greater as measured on the A scale of a sound level meter. Impulsive or impact noise should not exceed 140 dB peak sound pressure level.

    • Flying chips: exposure to particulate material ejected by mechanical processes (e.g., wood sawing, metal grinding, paint spraying) or wind-blown dust.

    • Harmful light: Any exposure to high energy laser light or other high intensity natural or artificial light that may cause damage to eye structures. Moderate and high-power lasers are potentially hazardous because they can burn the retina of the eye, or even the skin.

    • Harmful radiation:  The level or dose of ionizing radiation or non-ionizing radiation that may cause biological damage if exposed.  The ionizing radiation category primarily includes alpha, beta, x-ray, and gamma radiation. Non-ionizing radiation includes, among others, ultraviolet (UV), infrared (IR), radio frequency (RF), and microwave radiation. The difference between the two is that ionizing radiation has enough energy to eject orbital electrons from the atoms of the material being irradiated.

    • Hazardous materials:  Any material which poses a health and safety threat to employees and/or students or a threat to the environment as a result of improper handling, disposal methods or accidental discharge is considered hazardous.

    • Hazardous motion:  machinery or processes where any movement of tools, machine elements or particles exists, or movement of personnel that could result in collision with stationary objects.

    • Personal protective equipment:  Any device or system of clothing and devices that protects the wearer from the obvious harmful substances, activities, conditions or environment at the workplace.

    • Respirator: a device designed to protect the wearer from the inhalation of harmful atmospheres.

    • Sharp objects: Any object used or encountered that can be reasonably anticipated to penetrate the skin or any other part of the body, and to result in an exposure incident, including, but not limited to, needle devices, scalpels, lancets, broken glass, broken capillary tubes, exposed ends of dental wires, knives, drills and burrs. 

III.  General Guidelines

The requirement to use PPE is a function of the type of work (activities), the duration of the exposure (e.g., time weighted average for sound level) and the degree of physical contact (action level to implement controls) with the potential injury/illness source. However, each job at the University has varying degrees of exposure to injury ranging from minuscule to severe.  Over the course of many years of job analysis and safety investigations the University published a number of Environmental Health and Safety Programs to identify those injury sources and to mitigate employee accidental injuries. 

Because the purchase, training, use and enforcement of personal protective equipment is implemented across a cross-section of departments at CSUN, the most expedient way for a supervisor to assess the need for PPE is to examine the existing EH&S Safety and Health programs.

For example, the specific “Hearing Conservation Program,” to evaluate potential injury to hearing by loud sustained noise, was established to identify the activities where loud noise may exist and to determine if the sound exceeds minimum standards as published by the government. Appropriate hearing PPE can be found in this program.

In another case, many activities have the potential to embed foreign objects in the eye. Activities where the eye injury potential is elevated such as sawing, grinding, the use of machining equipment, or other activities that can produce flying chips are subject to mandatory eye protection for all personnel, as determined by the specific program the activity falls within.  Several other programs where PPE, to some extent, is specified include:

Several other programs where PPE, to some extent, is specified include:

Supervisors responsible for the on-the-job health and safety of the employee, should look first to the specific program that details the PPE required.  If the hazardous job is occasional or does not fit into a specific program, the EH&S Department stands ready to assist with PPE selection and training as required to protect the employee. 

IV.  Exposures & Protective Devices
Exposures:  The condition of being unprotected from a possible injury source.
    • Ballistic Exposure:  exposures consist of flying or dropped materials that may strike and injure an employee on the job causing a blunt or penetrating trauma.
    • Biological Exposure:  exposures consist of any biological agent that may cause personal injury.
    • Blunt Trauma Exposure:  refers to a type of physical trauma caused to a body part by impact. Resulting injury may be concussions, abrasions, lacerations, and/or bone fracturing. Blunt trauma is contrasted with penetrating trauma, in which an object such as a hypodermic needle enters the body.
    • Chemical Exposure:  exposures consist of any chemical agent that may cause personal injury.
    • Confined Space Entry Exposure:  exposures consist of entry or work within a confined space (a space large enough for a worker to enter, with limited or restricted means for entry and exit that is not designed for continuous occupancy. E.g., tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, equipment housings, ductwork, pipelines, etc.).
    • Extreme Temperatures: working in very high or very low temperatures either localized or in the general environment can cause injuries.
    • Fall Exposure:  exposures consist of any work activity from elevated heights or ladders.
    • Fire Exposure:  exposures working around open flames or from fighting a fire.
    • Hazardous Materials:  exposure to any material which poses a health and safety threat to employees and/or as a result of improper handling or disposal methods or accidental discharge. PPE may consist of gloves, safety glasses, goggles, face shields, clothing and creams.
    • Hot Work: exposures to heat and/or flame from activities involving electric or gas welding, cutting, brazing, or similar flame or spark-producing operations.
    • Penetrating Trauma Exposure:  exposures to puncture wounds while in a work environment.
    • Radiation Exposure:  exposures to harmful ionizing or non-ionizing radiation in which an employee may work.
    • Respiratory Exposure:  exposures to harmful contaminants in the air in which an employee may work.
    • Rolling Stock:  exposures to powered and non-powered rolling carts, dollies and pallet movers used to manually transport heavy materials and equipment. PPE may consist of gloves and hard toed shoes.
    • Sharp Objects:  exposures to tools, equipment and materials with sharp points or edges.  PPE may consist of gloves, special clothing and safety glasses.

Personal Protection Devices:  Any clothing or equipment provided by the University that is designed and constructed to safeguard the wearer from being exposed to a specific physical hazard. Such as:

    • Body Protection Equipment:  used by employees exposed to potential injury to the body, trunk, limbs or torso.  PPE may consist of special clothing.
    • Eye/Face Protection Equipment:  used by employees exposed to potential injury from harmful light or airborne particles in the work environment.  PPE may consist of special safety glasses, goggles or face masks.
    • Fall Protection Equipment:   used by employees exposed to potential fall hazards from working at above ground levels of 6 feet or more.  PPE may consist of Personal Fall Arresting Systems.  Components of a personal fall arresting system, detailed in the “Fall Protection Program,” include a body harness, lanyard, lifeline, connector, and an anchorage point capable of supporting at least 5000 pounds.
    • Foot Protection Equipment:  used by employees exposed to potential injury to the feet.  PPE may consist of special shoes, boots or metatarsal guards.
    • Hand Protection Equipment:  used by employees exposed to potential injury to hands.  PPE may consist of special gloves or hand creams.
    • Head Protection Equipment:  used by employees exposed to potential injury to the head.  PPE may consist of special hats, helmets or bump caps.
    • Hearing Protection Equipment:  used by employees exposed to excessive levels of sound as specified in the University’s “Hearing Conservation Program.”  PPE may consist of special earplugs or earmuffs.
    • Radiation Protection Equipment:  used by employees exposed to potential injury as specified in the University’s “Radiation Safety Manual.”  PPE may consist of safety glasses, protective clothing and gloves.
    • Respiratory Protection Equipment:  used by employees exposed to potential injury to the lungs and associated breathing functions as specified in the University’s “Respiratory Protection Program.”  PPE may consist of special dust masks, respirators of single or multiple use and air supplied types.
    • Skin Protection Equipment:  used by employees exposed to potential injury (e.g., dermatitis) from chemicals or other hazardous materials they may need to handle in the course of their work assignments.  PPE may consist of gloves, special protective hand creams, sunscreen or clothing.

V.  Exemptions & Exclusions

Employees working with energized electrical equipment are covered specifically under the University’s “Energized Electrical Work Program” and are exempted from this program for those related exposures.

VI.  Responsibilities

All Employees:

    • Each person working in a hazardous environment, having been trained, is responsible for remaining aware of the hazards associated with their activities and with the materials being handled and the appropriate personal protective equipment required.  Each person is responsible for knowing how to use PPE safely according to the types of hazards.  If one is unsure of a hazard or proper procedure, they should ask for assistance before using that particular PPE.
    • Must follow all appropriate PPE requirements while performing assigned duties.
    • Must inspect PPE prior to each use.
    • Must report conditions to your supervisor which may lead to injury.

Environmental Health & Safety Department (EH&S):

    • EH&S has responsibility for the oversight of the development, implementation, and maintenance of the Personal Protective Equipment Program (PPE).
    • Advise and assist in the implementation of PPE policies and practices.
    • Provide technical assistance to all departments in complying with PPE requirements.  Provide consultation, monitoring, and training support services to all departments on matters related to PPE.
    • Assist departments in identifying hazardous operations or materials, establishing safe work practices, and selecting protective equipment and other exposure controls.
    • Provide regular, formal workplace assessments to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which may necessitate the use of personal protective equipment PPE.
    • Assist departments with PPE procurement, use, fitting and maintenance.
    • Seek methods to improve the PPE program.

Departments:  Departments affected by this program include, but are not limited to:

    • Physical Plant Management:  Maintenance activities throughout campus buildings and grounds.
    • Information Technology: Telecommunications and network installation and maintenance throughout the University.
    • Student Housing:  Maintenance activities throughout campus housing facilities and grounds.
    • School of the Arts, Production Department:  Construction and striking of stage productions.
    • Engineering, Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Research Labs:  Handling hazardous materials.
    • Athletics:  Contact and other sports.

Dean of College or Chair/Manager of Department:

    • Responsible for the PPE Program within college or department.
    • Ensure that requirements related to PPE program, as contained in this document, are adequately supported at the college or departmental level.

College/Department Safety Coordinator:

    • Serve as a liaison with the Environmental Health & Safety Office to implement the PPE Program.
    • Assist area supervisors in all aspects of this program.
    • Monitor the procurement, use, maintenance and replacement of PPE in the areas over which they have oversight responsibility.


    • With assistance of EH&S and the department Safety Coordinator, determine the required protective apparel and equipment.
    • Ensure that personal protective equipment is available and working.
    • Responsible for ensuring new and existing employees receive PPE training as applicable to their job duties.
    • Maintain appropriate records.

Shop/Lab/Maintenance Personnel:

    • Understand and act in accordance with the safety requirements established by the department.
    • Participate in all required training programs.
    • Understand the function and proper use of all provided personal protective equipment.
    • Wear and properly maintain the personal protective equipment necessary to perform each task.
    • Use engineering controls and safety equipment properly and according to department requirements.
    • Report to supervisor all facts pertaining to accidents that result in injury and any action or condition that may result in an accident.  

VII.  Selection Process

Selection Overview

    • While personal protective equipment is an effective loss control tool in accident and injury prevention, these devices still do not reduce or eliminate the hazards.  Thus, PPE is advised when it is not feasible to render the workplace environment adequately safe.  It is not the University’s intention to make PPE the sole protection but a supplement to effective environmental control coupled with safe work procedures and proper training.
    • Supervisors must take care when considering the appropriate PPE for a specific or combination of hazards. Selecting the correct PPE may mean choosing from a variety of types, materials, functions and design to achieve the most cost effective protection without compromising safety.  Many PPE devices available require choices among several variables and priorities over and above cost.  These choices are best made in consultation with the safety personnel in the Environmental Health & Safety Department (EH&S, Ext. 2401).
Internal Workplace Hazard Assessment and PPE Evaluation
    • The Internal Workplace Hazard Assessment and PPE Evaluation Form is used by EH&S to document that the area identified had undergone a workplace hazard assessment and verify that the use of PPE is appropriate for the hazards found.  Departments will be responsible for conducting this assessment and maintaining records. EH&S will be responsible for providing assistance to groups that need it..  Any suggestions for safety enhancement will be communicated to the proper department personnel.  Department supervisors may download this form and conduct a self-evaluation whenever conditions in the department change.
Selection Tables
The following tables give the department person responsible for PPE a quick overview of the selections available. It is but the first step in the process of providing PPE for our employees.

TABLE 1 - PPE by Job Title

Admin Support CoordinatorJob specific
AdministratorJob specific
Air Cond/Refrig MechanicSafety Glasses, Ear Plugs
Athletic Equipment AttendantJob specific
Auto/Equipment Mechanic Safety Glasses, Ear Plugs
Building Service EngineerSafety Glasses, Ear Plugs
BuyerJob specific
CarpenterSafety Glasses, Ear Plugs
Clinical AidGloves, Safety Glasses
Clinical Lab TechnologistGloves, Safety Glasses
CoachSports specific
Coaching AssistantSports specific
CustodianGloves, Safety Glasses
Dept ChairJob specific
Dup Machine OperatorJob specific
ElectricianGloves, Safety Glasses
Equip Systems SpecialistJob specific
Equip Tech, MechanicalGloves, Safety Glasses, Ear Plugs
Equip Tech, ElectronicJob specific
Equip Tech, Specialized EquipGloves, Safety Glasses, Ear Plugs
Facilities Project Supv.Job specific
Facilities WorkerGloves, Safety Glasses
Graduate AssistantJob specific
GroundsworkerGloves, Safety Glasses, Ear Plugs. Hard hats, Filter masks
Head CoachGloves, Safety Glasses
Heavy Equip OperatorGloves, Safety Glasses, Ear Plugs, Hard hats
Bus DriverJob specific
InterpreterJob specific
Instr Fac (non-Science)Job specific
Instr Fac (Science)Gloves
Instructional Support AsstJob specific
Instructional Support TechJob specific
LaborerGloves, Safety Glasses, Ear Plugs, Hard hats
Lead Auto/Equip MechanicGloves, Safety Glasses
Lead CarpenterGloves, Safety Glasses
Lead CustodianGloves, Safety Glasses
Lead ElectricianGloves, Safety Glasses
Lead GroundsworkerGloves, Safety Glasses
Lead Locksmith Safety Glasses
Lead PainterGloves, Safety Glasses
Lead PlumberGloves, Safety Glasses
LecturerJob specific
Licensed Vocational NurseGloves
Light Auto Equipment OperatorJob specific
LocksmithSafety Glasses
Mail Clerk Job specific
Mail Services SupervisorJob specific
MasonGloves, Safety Glasses, Safety Shoes
Metal WorkerGloves, Safety Glasses, Ear Plugs
Network Analyst Job specific
NotetakerJob specific
Nurse Practitioner Safety Glasses
Operations Specialist Job specific
PainterGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators, Masks
Parking OfficerJob specific
Performing Arts TechGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators
Pest Control And Spray SpecialistGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators
PhysicianGloves, Safety Glasses, Job specific
PlumberGloves, Safety Glasses, Hard hats, Respirators
Police OfficerClothing, Job Specific
Police Officer CadetClothing, Job Specific
Registered NurseGloves, Safety Glasses, Clothing
SergeantClothing, Job Specific
Speech PathologistJob specific
Supervising CarpenterGloves, Safety Glasses, Ear Plugs
Supervising PlumberGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators
StorekeeperJob specific, Safety Glasses
Supervising ElectricianGloves, Safety Glasses Respirators, Ear Plugs
Teaching AssociateJob specific
Warehouse WorkerGloves, Safety Glasses, Hard hat

TABLE 2 - PPE by Activity

Asbestos RemovalGloves, Safety Glasses,Hooded Full-Body Coveralls, Respirators, Safety Shoes
AthleticsSports specific (i.e., helmets, chest protectors, goggles, etc.)
Biology LabGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators
CarpentryGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators, Ear Plugs, Safety Shoes, Hard hat
Chemistry LabGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators
CleaningGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators
Computer RepairGloves, Safety Glasses
ConstructionGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators, Ear Plugs, Safety Shoes, Hard hats
Construction Eqpt. OperGloves, Safety Glasses, Safety Shoes, Hard hats
Custodial ServicesGloves, Safety Glasses, Safety Shoes
DrivingJob specific
Electrical WorkGloves, Safety Glasses, Safety Shoes, Hard hats
Elevated WorkGloves, Safety Glasses, Safety Shoes, Hard hats
Excavation-TrenchingGloves, Safety Glasses, Ear Plugs, Safety Shoes, Hard hats
Facilities ServicesGloves, Safety Glasses, Safety Shoes
Fire FightingGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators, Clothing, Safety Shoes, Hard hats
Haz Mat HandlingGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators, Clothing, Safety Shoes
InterpretersJob specific
Lab WorkGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators, Clothing
Landscape/GroundsGloves, Safety Glasses, Ear Plugs, Safety Shoes, Respirators, Hard hats
Laser OperationsSafety Glasses
Law EnforcementClothing, Job specific, Safety Shoes
MaintenanceGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators, Ear Plugs, Safety Shoes, Hard hats
Mechanical ServicesGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators, Ear Plugs, Safety Shoes, Hard hat
Metal WorkingGloves, Safety Glasses, Face Shields, Respirators, Ear Plugs, Safety Shoes, Hard hats
PaintingGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators, Clothing, Safety Shoes, Hard hats
PlumbingGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators, Safety Shoes, Hard hats
Rescue WorkGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators, Clothing, Ear Plugs, Safety Shoes, Hard hats
RoofingGloves, Safety Glasses, Safety Shoes, Hard hats
Science InstructionGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators, Clothing
Set ConstructionGloves, Safety Glasses, Safety Shoes, Hard hats
Stone/Concrete WorkGloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators, Ear Plugs, Safety Shoes, Hard hats
Tree WorkGloves, Safety Glasses, Ear Plugs, Fall Protection, Safety Shoes, Hard hats
Vehicle ServicesGloves, Safety Glasses Respirators, Safety Shoes
WarehousingGloves, Safety Glasses, Safety Shoes, Hard hat
Window CleaningJob specific

TABLE 3 - PPE by Body Part Affected

EarsEar Plugs, Ear Muffs, Head Sets
EyesGoggles, Visors, Face Shields, Sun Glasses, Safety Glasses
General BodyHazMat Suits, Diving Suit, Lab Apron, Coveralls, Lab Coat, Shoulder Pads
HeadHard Hats, Helmets, Bump Caps
HandsGloves (specific to hazard)
LimbsCoveralls, Long Sleeve Shirts, Safety Shoes, Gloves, Hard Hat
RespiratoryRespirators (air supplied, air purifying, canister), Filter Masks
SkinClothing, Protective creams/ointments

TABLE 4 - PPE by Hazard

Airborne Contaminantsmasks, respirators, coveralls, skin cream
Electrical Currentgloves, non-metal hard hats, clothing
Excessive Heatclothing, cooling suits
Excessive Soundear plugs, ear muffs, head sets
Falling Objectshard hat, bump cap
Firegloves, clothing, boots
Flying Metal Chipssafety glasses, goggles, face shields, hats
Harmful Dustmasks, respirators, coveralls, skin cream
Harmful Lightsafety glasses, goggles, dark lens glasses, laser glasses
Hazardous Material Handlinggloves, safety glasses, goggles, face shields, clothing, creams
Hot Materialsgloves, work shoes, clothing, safety glasses, face shields
Ionizing Radiationmasks, special clothing, respirators, gloves
Laser Lightspecial glasses, clothing
Machine nip-pointssafety glasses, gloves
Moving Equipmentsafety glasses, metatarsal protectors, hard hats
Non-Ionizing Radiationsafety goggles, clothing, respirators, masks, gloves
Open Flamesafety goggles, clothing, gloves
Rolling Stockwork boots, metatarsal protection
Sharp Objectsgloves, clothing
Sunlightsunglasses, goggles, skin creams, clothing
 VIII.  References/Resources

IX.  PPE Rules

The California State Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety & Health, CCR Title 8 Regulations references the following recommendations regarding personal protective equipment:

The department person responsible for purchasing PPE should be very specific when ordering PPE so that there is a balance of quality, work efficiency and safety with the cost of the item.  The purchaser should select the protective equipment which ensures a level of protection greater than the minimum required to protect employees from the hazards.  When cost effective, an inventory of approved PPE should be maintained.

Maintenance and Care
It is critical that all reusable PPE be kept clean and properly maintained in order to provide the protection intended. Cleaning is particularly important for eye and face protection where dirty or fogged lenses could impair vision. For the purposes of compliance with Section 3380(a) and (d), PPE should be inspected, cleaned, and maintained at regular intervals.  It is also important to ensure that contaminated PPE which cannot be decontaminated is disposed of in a manner that protects employees from exposure to hazards.  Defective or damaged personal protective equipment shall not be used.

The department should provide access to training for each employee required to use PPE and the training should include the following:

    • When  & why PPE is necessary
    • Which PPE is required
    • Proper use of PPE


For PPE devices with adjustable features, adjustments should be made on an individual basis for a comfortable fit that will maintain the protective device in the proper position. Particular care should be taken in fitting devices for eye protection against dust and chemical splash to ensure that the devices are sealed to the face. In addition, proper fitting of a helmet is important to ensure that it will not fall off during work operations. In some cases a chin strap may be necessary to keep the helmet on an employee's head. Careful consideration must be given to comfort and fit because continued wearing of the device is more likely if it fits the wearer.

Respiratory PPE needs to be qualitatively fit tested at least annually, and when any changes to fit occur such as facial changes or respirator design changes. EH&S can assist with these tests.

Storage and Distribution

    • When feasible, PPE should be kept in a clean, dust free locker, cabinet or area so that it is easily accessible to whomever needs it.  Some PPE devices will have storage considerations specified by the manufacturer.
    • The department should make all PPE readily available to employees requiring hazard protection.  When possible, reusable PPE devices may be assigned to individuals.
Supervision & Enforcement
Department management is responsible for assuring each worker wears the appropriate PPE when exposed to hazards on the job.  Any employee who fails to wear PPE, when required, may face disciplinary action. 
X.  Forms Used
XI.  Revision Record
NEWOriginal DocumentAugust 25, 2011
1.0ReviewedDecember 2018
1.1Format, Updates, & LinksOctober 2022