Personal Protective Equipments


Mr. Arun K. Datar, Partner, Puraj Chemicals / Sitaram Chemicals, Ambernath

Mr. Arun K. Datar, Partner, Puraj Chemicals / Sitaram Chemicals, Ambernath.
Holds Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and Master Degree in Chemical Engineering. Has 24 Years of experience in Production, Planning, Finance, Marketing, Development of products, along with erection & commission of Plant & Machinery.

Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE”, is equipment worn to minimize exposure to serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full body suits.

KEYWORDS – Personal, Protective, Equipment, Employee.


Making the workplace safe includes providing instructions, procedures, training and supervision to encourage people to work safely and responsibly.

Even where engineering controls and safe systems of work have been applied, some hazards might remain. These include injuries to:

  • the lungs, eg from breathing in contaminated air
  • the head and feet, eg from falling materials
  • the eyes, eg from flying particles or splashes of corrosive liquids
  • the skin, eg from contact with corrosive materials
  • the body, eg from extremes of heat or cold
  • PPE is needed in these cases to reduce the risk.


  • Only use PPE as a last resort
  • If PPE is still needed after implementing other controls (and there will be circumstances when it is, eg head protection on most construction sites), you must provide this for your employees free of charge
  • You must choose the equipment carefully & ensure employees are trained to use it properly, & know how to detect & report any faults


You should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is exposed and to what?
  • How long are they exposed for?
  • How much are they exposed to?

When selecting and using PPE:

  • Choose products which are CE marked in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002 – suppliers can advise you
  • Choose equipment that suits the user – consider the size, fit and weight of the PPE. If the users help choose it, they will be more likely to use it
  • If more than one item of PPE is worn at the same time, make sure they can be used together, eg wearing safety glasses may disturb the seal of a respirator, causing air leaks
  • Instruct and train people how to use it, eg train people to remove gloves without contaminating their skin. Tell them why it is needed, when to use it and what its limitations are


  • Never allow exemptions from wearing PPE for those jobs that ‘only take a few minutes’
  • Check with your supplier on what PPE is appropriate – explain the job to them
  • If in doubt, seek further advice from a specialist adviser

5.0    Maintenance

PPE must be properly looked after and stored when not in use, eg in a dry, clean cupboard. If it is reusable it must be cleaned and kept in good condition.

Think about:

  • using the right replacement parts which match the original, eg respirator filters
  • keeping replacement PPE available
  • who is responsible for maintenance and how it is to be done
  • having a supply of appropriate disposable suits which are useful for dirty jobs where laundry costs are high, eg for visitors who need protective clothing

Employees must make proper use of PPE and report its loss or destruction or any fault in it.


  • Check regularly that PPE is used. If it isn’t, find out why not
  • Safety signs can be a useful reminder that PPE should be worn
  • Take note of any changes in equipment, materials and methods – you may need to update what you provide

6.1    Respirators

Respirators serve to protect the user from breathing in contaminants in the air, thus preserving the health of one’s respiratory tract. There are two main types of respirators. One type of respirator functions by filtering out chemicals and gases, or airborne particles, from the air breathed by the user. The filtration may be either passive or active (powered). Gas masks and particulate respirators are examples of this type of respirator. A second type of respirator protects users by providing clean, respirable air from another source. This type includes airline respirators and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).In work environments, respirators are relied upon when adequate ventilation is not available or other engineering control systems are not feasible or inadequate.

Air-purifying Respirator
Air-purifying Respirator

In the United Kingdom, an organization that has extensive expertise in respiratory protective equipment is the Institute of Occupational Medicine. This expertise has been built on a long-standing and varied research programme that has included the setting of workplace protection factors to the assessment of efficacy of masks available through high street retail outlets.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), NHS Health Scotland and Healthy Working Lives (HWL) have jointly developed the RPE (Respiratory Protective Equipment) Selector Tool, which is web-based. This interactive tool provides descriptions of different types of respirators and breathing apparatuses, as well as “do’s and dont’s” for each type.

In the United States, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides recommendations on respirator use, in accordance to NIOSH federal respiratory regulations 42 CFR Part 84. The National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) of NIOSH is tasked towards actively conducting studies on respirators and providing recommendations.

6.2    Skin protection

Occupational skin diseases such as contact dermatitis, skin cancers, and other skin injuries and infections are the second most common type of occupational disease and can be very costly. Skin hazards, which lead to occupational skin disease, can be classified into four groups. Chemical agents can come into contact with the skin through direct contact with contaminated surfaces, deposition of aerosols, immersion or splashes. Physical agents such as extreme temperatures and ultraviolet or solar radiation can be damaging to the skin over prolonged exposure. Mechanical trauma occurs in the form of friction, pressure, abrasions, lacerations and contusions. Biological agents such as parasites, microorganisms, plants and animals can have varied effects when exposed to the skin.

Locker containing personal protective equipment
Locker containing personal
protective equipment

Any form of PPE that acts as a barrier between the skin and the agent of exposure can be considered skin protection. Because a lot of work is done with the hands, gloves are an essential item in providing skin protection. Some examples of gloves commonly used as PPE include rubber gloves, cut-resistant gloves, chainsaw gloves and heat-resistant gloves. For sports and other recreational activities, many different gloves are used for protection, generally against mechanical trauma.

Other than gloves, any other article of clothing or protection worn for a purpose serve to protect the skin. Lab coats for example, are worn to protect against potential splashes of chemicals. Face shields serve to protect one’s face from potential impact hazards, chemical splashes or possible infectious fluid.

6.3    Eye protection

Each day, about 2000 US workers have a job-related eye injury that requires medical attention. Eye injuries can happen through a variety of means. Most eye injuries occur when solid particles such as metal slivers, wood chips, sand or cement chips get into the eye. Smaller particles in smokes and larger particles, such as broken glass also account for particulate matter causing eye injuries. Blunt force trauma can occur to the eye when excessive force comes into contact with the eye. Chemical burns, biological agents, and thermal agents, from sources such as welding torches and UV light also contribute to occupational eye injury.

eye protection
A paintball player wearing appropriate eye protection against impact

While the required eye protection varies by occupation, the safety provided can be generalized. Safety glasses provide protection from external debris, and should provide side protection via a wrap-around design or side shields.

  • Goggles provide better protection than safety glasses, and are effective in preventing eye injury from chemical splashes, impact, dusty environments and welding. Goggles with high air flow should be used to prevent fogging.
  • Face shields provide additional protection and are worn over the standard eyewear, they also provide protection from impact, chemical, and blood-borne hazards.
  • Full-facepiece respirators are considered the best form of eye protection when respiratory protection is needed as well, but may be less effective against potential impact hazards to the eye.
  • Eye protection for welding is shaded to different degrees, depending on the specific operation.

6.4    Hearing protection

Industrial noise is often overlooked as an occupational hazard, as it is not visible to the eye. Overall, about 22 million workers in the United States are exposed to potentially damaging noise levels each year Occupational hearing loss accounted for 14% of all occupational illnesses in 2007, with about 23,000 cases significant enough to cause permanent hearing impairment. About 82% of occupational hearing loss cases occurred to workers in the manufacturing sector. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration establishes occupational noise exposure standards. NIOSH recommends that worker exposures to noise be reduced to a level equivalent to 85 dBA for eight hours to reduce occupational noise-induced hearing loss.

PPE for hearing protection consists of earplugs and earmuffs. Workers who are regularly exposed to noise levels above the NIOSH recommendation should be furnished hearing protection by the employers, as they are a low-cost intervention.

6.5 Protective clothing & ensembles

This form of PPE is all-encompassing and refers to the various suits and uniforms worn to protect the user from harm. Lab coats worn by scientists and ballistic vests worn by law enforcement officials, which are worn on a regular basis, would fall into this category. Entire sets of PPE, worn together in a combined suit, would also fall into this category.

A complete PPE ensemble worn during high pressure cleaning work
  • Below are some examples of ensembles of personal protective equipment, worn together for a specific occupation or task, to provide maximum protection for the user.
  • Chainsaw protection (especially a helmet with face guard, hearing protection, kevlar chaps, anti-vibration gloves, and chainsaw safety boots). Specific information about chainsaw protection appears in the chainsaw safety clothing article.
  • Bee-keepers wear various levels of protection depending on the temperament of their bees & the reaction of the bees to nectar availability. At minimum most bee keepers wear a brimmed hat and a veil made of hardware cloth similar to window-screen material. The next level of protection involves leather gloves with long gauntlets and some way of keeping bees from crawling up one’s trouser legs. In extreme cases, specially fabricated shirts & trousers can serve as barriers to the bees’ stingers.
  • Diving equipment, for underwater diving, constitute of equipment such as a diving mask, an underwater breathing apparatus, a diving suit or wetsuit, and flippers.
  • Firefighters wear PPE designed to provide protection against fires and various fumes and gases. PPE worn by firefighters include bunker gear, self-contained breathing apparatus, a helmet, safety boots, and a PASS device.

6.6    PPE in sports

Participants in sports often wear protective equipment. Studies performed on the injuries of professional athletes, such as that on NFL players,[11][12] question the effectiveness of existing personal protective equipment.


  • football helmet
  • eyeshield
  • rib protector
  • shoulder pads
  • jockstrap with or without a cup pocket and protective cup
  • hip, tail, thigh, knee pads
  • mouthguard
  • gloves
  • cleats/shoes

Auto racing

  • Helmet
  • Fire suit
  • Head and neck restraint


  • helmet
  • glove
  • batting gloves
  • cleats
  • catchers use chest protectors, shin guards, and a helmet with a facemask
  • jockstrap with a cup pocket and protective cup


  • Protective sports glasses or sports goggles, which are also available with prescription lenses.
  • jockstrap (optional)


  • Bowling Gloves


  • jockstrap (optional)
  • jockstrap with a cup pocket and protective cup for mountain biking
  • spandex shorts


  • Helmet
  • knee pads
  • elbow pads
  • jockstrap with a cup pocket and protective cup
  • gloves
  • thigh pad


  • Mask
  • Jacket
  • Chest Protector
  • Plastron
  • Breeches
  • Glove
  • Socks
  • jockstrap with a cup pocket and protective cup


  • shin guards
  • mouthguard
  • Helmet (Goalkeeper)
  • Padding (Goalkeeper)
  • jockstrap with a cup pocket and protective cup

Horse racing

  • Hat
  • Body Protector
  • Boots
  • Gloves
  • Breeches
  • jockstrap
  • Goggles

Ice hockey

  • shin guards
  • mouthguard
  • Helmet
  • Padding (Goalkeeper)
  • jockstrap with a cup pocket and protective cup

Martial arts

  • jockstrap with a cup pocket and protective cup
  • compression shorts


  1. Personal Protective Equipment
  2. Respirators. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
  3. RPE Selector. Healthy Working Lives.
    CDC – NIOSH – Respirator Fact Sheet. The National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory.