Safety Policies

SY06 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Safety Policy

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Tony Cygan, 865-3030,

Policy Steward: 

Director of Environmental Health and Safety



This policy has been established to ensure the proper selection and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), thereby reducing the potential for occupational injury and illness.


This policy is applicable to all Penn State properties and work performed by Penn State employees regardless of job site location (except Hershey Medical Center and the College of Medicine).


This program has been developed in accordance with the provisions of OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.132 - 138, "Personal Protective Equipment".


  • Administrative Controls: Focus on the interaction between an employee and a hazard. These controls involve the introduction of work practices that reduce the risk of injury or illness. Common examples of administrative controls include job rotation, training, and the development of standard operating procedures (SOPs).
  • Engineering Controls: Focus on controlling a hazard at its source. The basic concept behind engineering controls is that work environments, equipment, and job tasks should be designed to eliminate or reduce exposure to hazards. Common examples of engineering controls include machine guarding, ventilation, and enclosure of noisy equipment.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Clothing which provides a physical barrier between a person and a known hazard.


It is the policy of Penn State University that all individuals who use Personal Protective Equipment follow appropriate procedures and be trained in accordance with this policy and the PPE Program.


Budget Executives and Budget Administrators

  • Ensure that responsibilities assigned within the PPE program are carried out within their administrative work unit.
  • Designate individuals responsible for the implementation of the PPE program within their work unit.
  • Monitor implementation of the PPE program within their work unit.
  • Ensure adequate funding is available to support the PPE program.

Department of Environmental Health and Safety

  • Assist work units in implementing the provisions of the PPE program.
  • Periodically review and update the PPE program as needed.
  • Set minimum standards for PPE when applicable.
  • Provide instruction to supervisors on how to conduct hazard assessments and train their employees on PPE.
  • Develop materials to support supervisors in training employees.

Safety Officers

  • Determine the applicability of the PPE program to activities conducted within their work unit.
  • Coordinate implementation of the PPE program within their work unit.
  • Ensure PPE hazard assessments are performed and documented for work areas and/or job tasks.
  • Ensure that all affected employees within their work unit have been trained in accordance with this program.
  • Ensure records of PPE hazard assessments and training are maintained by the work unit.
  • Assist in the investigation of injuries and incidents within their work unit related to PPE usage or lack thereof.


  • Be thoroughly informed of the contents of the PPE program and how it applies to their areas of responsibility and authority.
  • Ensure hazards are eliminated by engineering or administrative controls whenever feasible.
  • Conduct PPE Hazard Assessments for their area of authority.
  • Re-evaluate PPE needs for work areas and/or job tasks should any changes occur.
  • Provide employees with appropriate PPE.
  • Ensure employees receive PPE training.
  • Evaluate, approve, and document any new articles of PPE, or changes in existing PPE, prior to use.
  • Ensure employees comply with this program and take prompt corrective action when unsafe conditions or practices are observed.
  • Attend all training required by this program.
  • Investigate injuries and incidents within their work unit related to PPE usage or lack thereof.


  • Comply with this program and use personal protective equipment as required.
  • Attend all training required by this program.
  • Promptly report any concerns related to PPE to their immediate supervisor.


A "hazard assessment" is the process of identifying the hazards associated with a given task and prescribing personal protective equipment which must be utilized to reduce the risk. A certification of hazard assessment is a written document detailing the hazard assessment for a particular task. The supervisor is responsible for ensuring that hazard assessments are performed and the certification(s) completed.


As specified by OSHA, the work unit must pay 100% of most forms of personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes respirators, hearing protection, non-prescription eye protection, face protection, head protection, fall protection, electrical PPE, hand protection, chemical resistant PPE, and flame resistant PPE.

There are only two exceptions to this rule at the University:

1. The work unit or campus will provide partial reimbursement for the purchase of non-specialty protective footwear once a year as defined in the PSU PPE program.

  • Specialty footwear must be paid for by the work unit. This includes items that offer special protective qualities such as chemical resistance, electrical protection and static dissipation.

2. The work unit or campus will provide reimbursement for one pair of prescription safety eyewear every other year as defined in the PSU PPE program.

  • Specialty eyewear must be paid for by the work unit. This includes prescription eyewear inserts for respirators, laser safety eyewear and welding eyewear.

Specific purchasing requirements for protective footwear and prescription safety glasses can be found in Appendix G of the Personal Protective Equipment program. The employer is not required to pay for everyday clothing such as long sleeve shirts, long pants, street shoes and normal work boots. The employer is also not required to pay for ordinary clothing, skin creams or other items used solely for protection from the weather such as winter coats, jackets, gloves, parkas, rubber boots, hats, raincoats, ordinary sunglasses, and sunscreen.


EHS is responsible for training supervisors who have employees required to wear PPE. EHS will provide training to supervisors on the following topics:

  • How to complete PPE hazard assessments
  • How to train their employees on PPE

Supervisors, Faculty, Principal Investigators, etc. are responsible for ensuring training is provided to their employees who are required to use PPE. Employees will be trained to know the following:

  • When PPE is necessary
  • What PPE is necessary
  • How to properly don, doff, adjust, and wear PPE
  • Limitations of PPE
  • Proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of PPE


Each work unit is responsible for maintaining the following records in order to meet the requirements of the PPE program: EHS Forms:

  • The most recent versions of the PPE Hazard Assessment Worksheet (Appendix B).
  • The Summary of PPE Requirements (Appendix C).
  • The PPE Training Certification Form (Appendix D).

EHS will maintain a listing of all individuals trained by EHS.


For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.


Other Policies should also be referenced, especially the following:

SY01 - Environmental Health and Safety Policy

Most Recent Changes:

  • January 13, 2023 - Editorial change to update Policy Steward and remove "(Formerly Safety Glasses for Employees Working on Machine Tools)" from Policy Title.
  • November 1, 2021 - Reviewed no changes needed.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • November 18, 2016 - Editorial changes. Updates to the appropriate links in the POLICY, PURCHASE OF PPE and RECORDKEEPING sections to reflect revisions to the EHS website.

  • June 11, 2015 - Editorial changes. Edits to links and verbiage in the POLICY, PURCHASE OF PPE and RECORDKEEPING sections.
  • February 27, 2014 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
  • September 12, 2013 - Major revisions to the entire policy, covering the broader range of personal protective equipment (PPE) beyond the previous policy version (it only covered eye protection equipment), as well as clarifications on the responsibilities, assessment, training and recordkeeping that coincides with the purchase and use of PPE.
  • June 14, 2006 - Revision History added.
  • April 9, 1998 - Retyped without change from November 17, 1978.
  • June 10, 1991 - Revised section title "For Employees Who Wear PRESCRIPTION LENSES" (was Protection Lenses).
  • January 23, 1991 - Retyped, relocated and renumbered Policy SY06 from HR46.

Date Approved: 

November 1, 2021

Date Published: 

November 1, 2021

Effective Date: 

November 1, 2021