Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in Laboratories Policy

I. Purpose

Boston University (“BU”) is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for students, faculty, staff, patients, visitors and neighbors, as well as fostering a culture of safety among users of all campus facilities. Individuals working in the laboratory may encounter potentially hazardous material, conditions or processes and may be required to use personal protective equipment (“PPE”) when engineering or administrative controls are not sufficient to fully protect them.

The purpose of this Policy is to set forth the minimum requirements for the use of PPE in BU research and teaching laboratories.

II. Covered Parties

This Policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, affiliates and visitors at or under the auspices of Boston University where PPE is required based on their job duties, other activities, potential exposures, or work environment. When specific activities or the work environment necessitate additional PPE, the more stringent requirement must be adhered to.

III. Defined Terms

Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”): PPE is designed to protect the wearer against chemical, biological, radiological, or mechanical hazards. Different types and levels of PPE may be required of individuals, depending upon their specific role within a laboratory and the work being performed.

Administrative Control:  An administrative control is a change in the way an activity is conducted or a procedure is performed that reduces the likelihood of exposure to a hazardous material, condition, or process. Examples include written safety policies, procedures, rules, schedules, and training.

Engineering Control: An engineering control is the redesign, replacement, or application of equipment to an activity or work environment to reduce or eliminate exposure to a hazardous material, condition, or process.

Visitor: A visitor is considered to be any person who enters a laboratory upon express or implied invitation by the PI, Lab Manager, Supervisor, or his/her staff to conduct business in the laboratory. Visitors must complete all necessary requirements that are warranted to commence the visit. For the purpose of this policy, this includes individuals whose only purpose inside the laboratory is to take a tour of the facility or to reach the Principal Investigator’s (“PI”) office.

IV. Policy

To protect faculty, staff, students, affiliates, and visitors from the hazards present in the laboratory, the Laboratory Safety Committee (“LSC”) has established minimum PPE requirements based on best practices.

Visitors to laboratories must be under the direct supervision of authorized faculty or staff. The host must assume full responsibility for the visitor and ensure that pertinent safety training and appropriate PPE is provided and used. Hosts must ensure that all visitors remove all PPE appropriately before exiting the laboratory.

The following PPE requirements apply to all individuals visiting research and teaching laboratories:

  • Full-length pants, or equivalent must be worn at all times;
  • Closed toe footwear, that covers the top of the foot, must be worn at all times; and
  • Long sleeves or laboratory coat covering both arms.

All other individuals entering laboratory space must follow the PPE requirements described above for the visitor, as well as the following:

  • Laboratory coats must be worn over personal clothing at all times;
  • Long hair and facial hair must be secured or tied back;
  • Flame resistant laboratory coats must be worn when working with pyrophoric chemicals, water reactive chemicals, and high volumes of flammable chemicals;
  • Disposable gloves that are protective against the hazardous or potentially hazardous materials being used must be worn. Gloves must be replaced when soiled, contaminated or damaged; and
  • Eye protection must be available and used when danger to splashing of hazardous or potentially hazardous materials could occur.

Depending on the work being done in a laboratory, additional and/or more specific PPE may be required.

V. Responsible Parties

The Laboratory Safety Committee (“LSC”) is charged with the oversight of laboratory activities and establishing appropriate health and safety policies and guidance to comply with federal, state and local regulations and guidelines.

The Laboratory Safety Committee (“LSC”) is responsible for:

  • The oversight of laboratory activities and establishing appropriate health and safety policies and guidance to comply with federal, state and local regulations and guidelines.

Environmental Health and Safety (“EHS”) is responsible for:

  • Providing general safety training;
  • Identifying activities, work environments and potential exposures where a PPE hazard assessment is required;
  • Reviewing and approving PPE requirements and completed PPE hazard assessments as needed or upon request; and
  • Providing guidance on the selection and use of PPE and related training, as necessary.

Principal Investigators (“PI”) in collaboration with EHS, are responsible for:

  • The safety of faculty, staff, students, affiliates, and visitors who perform activities under their direction;
  • Performing, documenting, and certifying PPE hazard assessments for their staff, students, affiliates, and visitors when they first enter a work environment, begin an activity, or are potentially exposed to a hazardous material, condition, or process;
  • Reviewing and updating these assessments when a new hazardous material, condition, or process is introduced into the work environment;
  • Ensuring that staff, students, affiliates, and visitors are aware of hazardous materials, conditions, or processes in their work environment, and receive applicable PPE information and training prior to exposure to those hazards;
  • Providing additional safety training specific to their activities and work environment;
  • Communicating, monitoring, and enforcing minimum PPE standards, as well as the use of PPE specified by the hazard, work environment, or activity performed; and
  • Notifying EHS of materials, conditions, or processes that may require individuals to wear additional or different types of PPE.

Faculty, Staff, Students, Affiliates, and Visitors are responsible for:

  • Following safety procedures and use of appropriate PPE as outlined in this and other documents;
  • Participating in safety and PPE training sessions, as required;
  • Wearing specified personal attire, as required;
  • Caring for and using PPE as required;
  • Notifying the PI, supervisor, or instructor when a hazard or process has changed that may render previously used PPE ineffective; and
  • Notifying the PI, supervisor, or instructor of any contaminated, worn out, defective, torn, or otherwise compromised PPE.

VI. Related Policies and References

Boston University Environmental Health and Safety Laboratory Personal Protective (PPE) Selection Guide

OSHA 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I: Personal Protective Equipment

VII. History

Original Date Approved: 3/2016

Revised: 10/2019

Next Review Date: 10/2022

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