Tasks performed on the Purchase College campus potentially expose personnel to physical, chemical, electrical or other hazards.  Engineering and administrative controls are the preferred methods to control employee exposure to hazards. Until these methods are fully implemented, or in situations where they do not completely remove the hazard, personal protective equipment is required to be used.

The hierarchy of controlling employee exposure to hazards is as follows:

  • Engineering controls such as exhaust systems or substitution of less hazardous chemicals.
  • Administrative controls such as training, written procedures, signs.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE).

When PPE use is indicated, OSHA requires implementation of a program including assessment of the workplace to determine if hazards are present; PPE selection based on those hazards and employee training.

For details regarding PPE required for particular task, always refer to the hazard assessment for your department.

PPE Hazard Assessment

A documented assessment of the campus is required to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which necessitate the use of PPE. For hazards identified, the campus will select and require each affected employee to use PPE that will provide protection. The campus will also communicate selection decisions to affected employees.

PPE hazard assessments require updating when changes in the work scope introduce new hazards requiring the use of PPE, or when a new task or new equipment is introduced requiring a PPE change.

PPE Selection

Based upon the results of the PPE hazard assessment, appropriate PPE is selected to prevent or reduce the risk of employee exposures.

The following criteria guide the selection of PPE:

  • Nature and extent of the hazards
  • Comfort / proper fit
  • Durability
  • Manufacturer’s intended use/limitations
  • Chemical compatibility
  • Method of construction
  • Compliance with applicable OSHA and ANSI standards
  • Compatibility of PPE when more than one hazard exits
  • EHS input

Department Supervisors

Assist EHS with PPE hazard assessment completion.

  • Provide personal protective equipment.
  • Monitor work to ensure wearing of proper PPE.
  • Encourage feedback on tasks that require PPE as well as changes to PPE so that it is effective.
  • Notify EHS prior to any new task for assessment and PPE selection.

Campus Employees

Use and maintain PPE in a sanitary and reliable condition as specified in the department hazard assessment.

  • Attend training as needed.

EHS Department

Establish and administer campus-specific PPE program

  • Guide completion of PPE hazard assessments
  • Provide guidance in PPE selection
  • Ensure PPE training is conducted
  • Include PPE use in audits of campus activities

Specific Hazards & PPE Required

Eye and Face Hazards

Eye or face hazards require the use of appropriate eye or face protection. Hazards, regardless of task, include:

Flying particles

  • Molten metal
  • Liquid chemicals
  • Acids or caustic liquids
  • Chemical gases or vapors
  • Light radiation from lasers, high intensity lights, and welding

Safety glasses with permanently attached side shields or goggles are required in all areas where the hazards listed above exist or in any area designated by signs.

Appropriate additional eye protection is required at all times when impact from flying objects can occur or when working with or around chemicals where a potential for chemical splash exists. In these situations, a face shield over goggles or over safety glasses is required. Face shields act as secondary protection and are not worn alone.

Safety glasses with permanently attached side shields, goggles and face shields must meet the ANSI Z87.1-1989 and or ANSI Z87.1-2003 standard.

Safety glasses with nonconductive frames and permanently attached side shields are required when working on or near electrical hazards. Nonconductive frames are recommended for all other work where safety glasses are required.

Employees who wear prescription lenses while engaged in operations that involve eye hazards shall wear eye protection that incorporates the prescription in its design. Eye protection that worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses is also an option.

Prescription safety glasses must meet the following criteria:

  • Be made with non-conductive frames.
  • Have permanently affixed side shields.
  • Must show Z-87 ANSI rating somewhere on the frame.

Employees performing welding, cutting, brazing or soldering operations shall use the appropriate lens shade listed in the table below.


Electrode Size (1/32”)

Arc Current (Amps)

Minimum Shade 1

Shielded Metal Arc Welding

Less than 3

3 – 5

5 – 8

Greater than 8

Less than 60 60 - 160

160 - 250

250 - 550





Gas Metal Arc Welding and Flux Cored Arc Welding


Less than 60

60 - 160

160 - 250

250 - 550





Gas Tungsten Arc Welding



Less than 50

50 – 150

150 - 500




Air Carbon


Less than 500


Arc Cutting


500 - 1000


Plasma arc welding





Less than 20

20 – 100

100 – 400

400 – 800





Plasma arc cutting


Light 2

Medium 2

Heavy 2

Less than 300

300 – 400

400 – 800




Torch Brazing




Torch Soldering




Carbon Arc Welding






Plate Thickness (inches)

Plate Thickness  (mm)

Minimum Shade1

Gas Welding - light

Under 1/8”



Gas Welding - medium

1/8” to 1/2”

3.2 – 12.7


Gas Welding - heavy

Over 1/2”

Over 12.7






Oxygen Cutting – light

Under 1”

Under 25


Oxygen Cutting – medium

1” to 6”

25 – 150


Oxygen Cutting – heavy

Over 6”

Over 150



  1. As a rule of thumb, start with a shade that is too dark to see the weld zone.  Then go to a lighter shade that gives sufficient view of the weld zone without going below the minimum. In oxy-fuel gas welding or cutting where the torch produces a high yellow light, it is desirable to use a filter lens that absorbs the yellow or sodium line in the visible light of the (spectrum) operation.
  2. These values apply where the actual arc is clearly seen. Experience has shown that lighter filters may be used when the arc is hidden by the work piece.

(Sources: AWS and OSHA 1910.133)

Respiratory Hazards

Controlling occupational exposure to harmful airborne contaminants (vapors, fumes, gases, dusts, or mists) must begin with methods of preventing such contaminants from reaching the worker. The preferred method of control is engineering control. When engineering controls are not effective or not feasible, workers must use appropriate respirators to protect against adverse health effects caused by breathing contaminated air. Respirators generally cover the nose and mouth or the entire face or head and help prevent illness and injury. A proper fit is essential, however, for respirators to be effective. Respirators must be NIOSH-approved and medical evaluation and training must be provided before use.

The contaminant and conditions of use determine respirator selection. Maximum protection is provided when respirators are used, cleaned, and maintained properly.

Refer to the campus respirator program for details on proper selection, use and maintenance of respirators.

Head Injury

Injuries to the head can occur from impact, flying objects, electrical shock, burns, low ceilings, or suspended objects. Wearing of hard hats is required anytime there the possibility of head injuries.

Hard Hat Requirements

  • Approved hard hats have ANSI Z89-1-1986 class A/B or ANSI Z89.1-1997 class G or E ratings.
  • Hard hats shall be worn forward unless a designated certification sticker is inside of the hat (i.e. welder’s hat when face shield is in place).
  • Hard hats are required for all construction, demolition and renovation projects.
  • In cases where overhead clearance is an issue, and there is no other head injury potential exists, bump caps shall be worn. In the event any work is being performed overhead, a hard hat shall be worn instead of a bump cap.
  • Hard hats are required in all confined spaces.
  • Hard hats are required when working above suspended ceilings.
  • Chin straps are advised when working in areas or under conditions that make it difficult to keep head gear on.

Traffic Hazards

High Visibility Vests must be worn when a traffic hazard exists. In cold weather, high visibility jackets are a better choice.

Foot Hazards

Foot protection is required when any of these hazards are present:

  • Heavy objects that might roll onto or fall on your feet
  • Sharp objects such as nails or spikes that might pierce ordinary shoes
  • Molten metal that might splash on feet
  • Hot or wet surfaces
  • Slippery surfaces
  • Contact with energized electrical equipment

Scope of work and activities performed determine appropriate footwear.

Footwear shall conform to either:

  1. American Society of Testing and Material (ASTM) F2412­05/F2413­05 standard, or
  2. ANSI Z41.1-1991 class 75 standards for impact and compression.
  • Safety shoes at a minimum are closed toe shoes with steel/fiberglass toe protection.
  • Safety shoes are required while working on construction, demolition , and renovation jobs.
  • Safety shoes are required when working in all mechanical rooms, utility plants, generator rooms, substations, distribution docks and warehouse areas, on roofs, etc.
  • Safety shoes are required while operating all power vehicles except scooters.
  • Nonconductive soles (EH) are recommended when performing electrical work.
  • Safety shoes with steel plates in the sole of the boot are recommended for demolition projects to protect the sole of the foot from being pierced.
  • Safety shoes are not required while working in an administrative office environment.

Noise Hazards

  • Hearing protection is required whenever the noise level is 85 decibels or above TWA over an eight hour day.
  • Hearing protection is required when noise levels exceed higher levels of exposure over a shorter period of time (i.e. jackhammers, mowers, grinders, saws, generators, etc.)
  • Hearing protection is required in any area identified as being a high hazard noise area.
  • All hearing protection should comply with ANSI S3.19 - 1974 test specification and have a noise reduction rating (NRR) that ensures adequate protection based on sound levels and derated NRR.
  • When generators are running it is recommended that ear muffs are used in conjunction with ear plugs.
  • Hearing protection is required in designated areas throughout the campus.
  • Refer to the campus occupational noise program for details on proper selection, use, and maintenance of hearing protectors.

Hand and Arm Hazards

  • Gloves must be used to protect hands and arms from potential punctures, lacerations, abrasions, temperature extremes, and adverse chemical reactions such as skin absorption, irritation, burns, and dermatitis.
  • The appropriate type of glove must be worn for the particular hazard situation.
  • Assistance in selecting the proper gloves is available from the EHS Department.
  • Shirt sleeves should cover the arm when working near potential hazards that could cause punctures, lacerations and abrasions. 
  • Additional protection is required to protect against hot or cold burns and adverse chemical reactions such as skin absorption, irritation, burns.
  • Remove jewelry when using power tools and when working on or near potential electrical hazards.

Caring for PPE

  • Inspect all PPE regularly looking for cracks, contamination, degradation of seals and straps, loss of elasticity, and scratched or severely pitted lenses.
  • Clean PPE regularly with approved cleaners only. Never use chemicals on PPE, damage can occur.
  • Proper storage is essential; avoid distorting flexible components, contamination, moisture, and direct sunlight.
  • Always dispose of PPE properly when damaged or no longer effective. If contaminated, treat as hazardous waste.
  • Replace any PPE when protection is no longer adequate or according to manufacturer’s recommendations.


Training must ensure employees are confident in their knowledge, selection, and use of PPE. Training will be conducted upon assignment to a position that requires the use of PPE, and when existing or new work place hazards result in changes to PPE.

Training topics will include:

  • When PPE is necessary;
  • What PPE is necessary;
  • How to properly don, doff, adjust, and wear PPE;
  • The limitations of the PPE; and,
  • The proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of the PPE.

Supervisors must verify that each employee who uses PPE has the correct PPE, has received and understood required training, and has demonstrated the ability to properly use and maintain their PPE. In the event changes in the workplace or changes in PPE that is required take place, employees will need refresher training.