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Personal Protective Equipment for Chemical Exposures

Personal Protective Equipment for Chemical Exposures

Personal Protective Equipment for Chemical

Safe Operating Procedure (Revised 12/13) PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT FOR CHEMICAL EXPOSURES _____________________________________________________________________ (For assistance, please contact EHS at (402) 472-4925, or visit our web site at http://ehs.unl.edu/) Use of an appropriate ensemble of personal protective equipment (PPE) may be necessary to protect against potential chemical exposures. In all cases, PPE is a supplement to and not a substitute for feasible engineering and administrative controls. Components selected for an adequate ensemble of PPE vary with the nature of the contaminant, route(s) of exposure, and contaminant concentration. General classes of PPE, with specific examples, are discussed below. Recommendations specific to laboratory operations are provided at the end of this document. EHS is available to provide guidance on selection of specific PPE. Ensemble Components • Respirators - When engineering controls are not sufficient to reduce the concentration of air contaminants below an acceptable level, respirators may be required. Many types of respirators are available, ranging from filtering face pieces (dust masks) to full face covering respirators. The appropriate type of respirator depends on the concentration of contaminants, as well as the form of contaminants (e.g., dusts, mists, fumes, etc.). Persons who intend to use a respirator must contact EHS to enroll in UNL’s Respiratory Protection Program (RPP) prior to using a respirator. • Eye and Face Protection - Protective eyewear or eyewear/faceshield combination may be needed to protect against projectiles, airborne particles, thermal burns, chemical splashes, vapors, or mists, dusts, or radiant energy. See the EHS SOP, Personal Protective Equipment - Eyes and Face. • Hand Protection – Gloves provide protection for the hands from many types of hazards, including chemical absorption. Like other classes of PPE, many types of gloves are available, varying in materials of construction and thickness. All glove manufacturers provide glove permeability and degradation data that will assist in selecting the proper glove based on specific chemical and conditions of use. In general: ‣ Butyl rubber gloves protect against a wide variety of chemicals such as peroxides, acids, bases, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, esters, and nitro compounds. They resist oxidation, ozone corrosion and abrasion, and remain flexible at low temperatures. However, butyl rubber does not perform well with aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons and halogenated solvents. ‣ Natural (latex) rubber gloves are usually fairly thin and provide a low barrier protection against incidental contact with water solutions of acids, alkalis, salts (Created 1/01; Revised 5/05, 9/08, 7/12) UNL Environmental Health and Safety · (402) 472-4925 · http://ehs.unl.edu

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