Does "Subpart I - Personal Protective Equipment" Apply to You?

Subpart I provides the standards for personal protective equipment for eye and face protection, head protection, foot protection, hand protection, electrical protective devices, respiratory protection and personal fall protection devices.

Do you have hazards involving processes or the environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants that are capable of causing injury or impairment to any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact? If yes, then you need to comply with subpart I.

The general requirements standard covers all personal protective equipment (PPE). According to the general requirements, protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact. To identify what the hazards are and what PPE is required to protect employees from them, this standard requires that the employer conduct a PPE hazard assessment. Once the assessment is completed, you will know which PPE standards you need to comply with in addition to the general requirements standard. Reference appendix B on non-mandatory compliance guidelines for hazard assessment and personal protective equipment selection. It also provides requirements for training and payment of PPE.

Additional information on PPE can be found on the safety and health topics pages for personal protective equipmentrespiratory protection, and fall protection.

To identify what other PPE standards apply to you, click on the applicable tab below.

 

Subpart I - Personal Protective Equipment

Tab/Accordion Items

This standard applies when breathing air is contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors which can cause occupational diseases. Are employees exposed to harmful air contaminants? Note: To answer this question, you may need to review safety data sheets, labels, conduct air monitoring, or gather other relevant data that can provide you with useful information regarding the hazards for the contaminant.

If the answer is yes, you need to comply with the respiratory protection standard. Note: An employer should evaluate the use of engineering and administrative controls to minimize air contaminant exposures. If exposure levels are above the permissible exposure limits (PELs - reference subpart Z - toxic and hazardous substances), (or in the absence of a PEL, another recommended level), then respirators must be provided and used in accordance with an effective respiratory protection program. 

This standard provides the requirements for using respirators when engineering control measures (e.g., ventilation, enclosures) are not effective in controlling air contaminants. This includes having a written respirator program, and providing for respirator selection, medical evaluations, fit testing, respirator use, maintenance and care, breathing air quality and use, identification of filters, cartridges and canisters, training and information, program evaluation, and recordkeeping (reference the standard on access to employee exposure and medical records). In addition, appendix A provides fit testing procedures, appendix B-1 provides user seal check procedures, appendix B-2 provides respirator cleaning procedures, and appendix C provides the medical questionnaire. 

This standard applies to general industry (part 1910), shipyards (part 1915), marine terminals (part 1917), longshoring (part 1918), and construction (part 1926).

Note: Voluntary Users of Respirators - paragraph (c)(2)(i); An employer may provide respirators at the request of employees or permit employees to use their own respirators, if the employer determines that respirator use will not in itself create a hazard. If the employer determines that voluntary respirator use is permissible, they shall provide the information contained in appendix D to the employee. In addition, the employer must establish and implement those elements of a written respiratory protection program necessary to ensure that any employee using a respirator voluntarily is medically able to use that respirator, and that the respirator is cleaned, stored, and maintained so that its use does not present a health hazard to the user.

Exception: Employers are not required to include in a written respiratory protection program those employees whose only use of respirators involves the voluntary use of filtering facepieces (dust masks).

This standard also provides definitions such as: 

Filtering facepiece (dust mask) means a negative pressure particulate respirator with a filter as an integral part of the facepiece or with the entire facepiece composed of the filtering medium. 

Air-purifying respirator means a respirator with an air-purifying filter, cartridge, or canister that removes specific air contaminants by passing ambient air through the air-purifying element. (i.e., N95)

Fit test means the use of a protocol to qualitatively or quantitatively evaluate the fit of a respirator on an individual.

Additional information can be found on the A-Z safety and health topics pages for respiratory protection, organic solventshierarchy of controlspersonal protective equipment and flammable liquids

If the answer is yes, you need to comply with the respiratory protection standard. This standard provides the requirements for using respirators when engineering control measures (e.g., ventilation, enclosures) are not effective in controlling air contaminants, and when employees enter oxygen deficient atmospheres or immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH) atmospheres.

It provides requirements for having a written respirator program, and providing for respirator selection, medical evaluations, fit testing, respirator use, maintenance and care, breathing air quality and use, identification of filters, cartridges and canisters, training and information, program evaluation, and recordkeeping (reference the standard on access to employee exposure and medical records). In addition, appendix A provides fit testing procedures, appendix B-1 provides user seal check procedures, appendix B-2 provides respirator cleaning procedures, and appendix C provides the medical questionnaire. 

This standard applies to general industry (part 1910), shipyards (part 1915), marine terminals (part 1917), longshoring (part 1918), and construction (part 1926).

Note: An employer should evaluate the use of engineering and administrative controls to minimize air contaminant exposures. If exposure levels are above the permissible exposure limits (PELs - reference subpart Z - toxic and hazardous substances), (or in the absence of a PEL, another recommended level), then respirators must be provided and used in accordance with an effective respiratory protection program. 

Immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH) means an atmosphere that poses an immediate threat to life, would cause irreversible adverse health effects, or would impair an individual's ability to escape from a dangerous atmosphere.

Oxygen deficient atmosphere means an atmosphere with an oxygen content below 19.5% by volume.

Positive pressure respirator means a respirator in which the pressure inside the respiratory inlet covering exceeds the ambient air pressure outside the respirator.

Powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) means an air-purifying respirator that uses a blower to force the ambient air through air-purifying elements to the inlet covering.

Pressure demand respirator means a positive pressure atmosphere-supplying respirator that admits breathing air to the facepiece when the positive pressure is reduced inside the facepiece by inhalation.

Additional information can be found on the A-Z safety and health topics pages for respiratory protection, organic solventshierarchy of controlspersonal protective equipment and flammable liquids

If yes, you need to comply with personal fall protection systems standard. This standard establishes performance, care, and use criteria for all personal fall protection systems. It provides the general requirements (i.e., connectors, lanyards, lifelines, snaphooks, anchorages), personal fall arrest systems, and positioning systems. If your fall hazards can be addressed by using guardrail systems, refer to subpart D, walking-working surfaces. In addition, appendix C provides guidance on personal fall protection systems. It also provides the definitions such as:

Personal fall arrest system (PFAS) means a system used to arrest an employee in a fall from a walking-working surface. It consists of a body harness, anchorage, and connector. The means of connection may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or a suitable combination of these.

Positioning system (work-positioning system) means a system of equipment and connectors that, when used with a body harness or body belt, allows an employee to be supported on an elevated vertical surface, such as a wall or window sill, and work with both hands free. Positioning systems also are called "positioning system devices" and "work-positioning equipment."

Personal fall protection system means a system (including all components) an employer uses to provide protection from falling or to safely arrest an employee's fall if one occurs. Examples of personal fall protection systems include personal fall arrest systems, positioning systems, and travel restraint systems.

Additional related information on PFAS can be found on the A-Z safety and health topics pages for walking-working surfaces and fall protection.

Based on your PPE hazard assessment, are employees exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation? If yes, then you need to comply with the eye and face protection standard. This standard provides the general requirements (i.e., corrective lenses, filter lenses) and criteria for protective eye and face protection (i.e., consensus standards). 

Additional information can be found on the A-Z safety and health topics page for personal protective equipmentorganic solvents and radiation, ionizing and non-ionizing. Additional assistance with consensus standards can be obtained by contacting the NCDOL Library

 

Based on your PPE hazard assessment, are employees exposed to head injury from falling objects or when they work near exposed electrical conductors which could contact the head? If yes, then you need to comply with the head protection standard. It provides general head protection requirements (i.e., falling objects, electrical shock) along with criteria for protective devices (i.e., consensus standards).  

Additional information can be found on the A-Z safety and health topics page for personal protective equipment and electrical safety. Additional assistance with consensus standards can be obtained by contacting the NCDOL Library

Based on your PPE hazard assessment, are employees working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, or when the use of protective footwear will protect the affected employee from an electrical hazard (such as a static-discharge or electric-shock hazard that remains after the employer takes other necessary protective measures)? If yes, then you need to comply with the foot protection standard. This standard provides general requirements and footwear criteria (i.e., consensus standards).

Additional information can be found on the A-Z safety and health topics page for personal protective equipment and electrical safety. Additional assistance with consensus standards can be obtained by contacting the NCDOL Library

Based on your PPE hazard assessment, are employees' hands exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; or harmful temperature extremes? If yes, then you need to comply with the hand protection standard. It provides general hand protection requirements, and that the selection should be based on task(s) to be performed, conditions present, duration of use, and the hazards and potential hazards identified.

Additional information can be found on the A-Z safety and health topics pages for personal protective equipment and organic solvents

Based on your PPE hazard assessment, are employees exposed to electrical hazards where the use of protective devices such as rubber insulating blankets, rubber insulating matting, rubber insulating covers, rubber insulating line hose, rubber insulating gloves, or rubber insulating sleeves would protect the employee? If yes, then you need to comply with the electrical protective devices standard. This standard provides design requirements for specific types of electrical protective devices and other types of electrical protective equipment, along with in-service care and use of electrical protective equipment.

Additional information can be found on the A-Z safety and health topics page for personal protective equipment and electrical safety. Additional assistance with consensus standards can be obtained by contacting the NCDOL Library