EHSO Guide to Assessing the Need
for Personal Protective Equipment:
A Guide for Small Business Employers

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Body Protection

When must I provide my employees with full body protection?

You must provide body protection for employees if they are threatened with bodily injury of one kind or another while performing their jobs, and if engineering, work practice, and administrative controls have failed to eliminate these hazards. Workplace hazards that could cause bodily injury include the following: bulletIntense heat


bulletSplashes of hot metals and other hot liquids


bulletImpacts from tools, machinery, and materials




bulletHazardous chemicals


bulletContact with potentially infectious materials, like blood



If only part of the body faces potential injury, must I provide my employees with full body protection?

As with all protective equipment, protective clothing is available to protect against specific hazards. You need to provide personal protective equipment only for the parts of the body exposed to possible injury. Depending upon hazards in your workplace, you may need to provide your employees with one or more of the following: bulletVests








bulletSurgical gowns


bulletFull body suits.

If your hazard assessment indicates that you must provide full body protection against toxic substances or harmful physical agents, you must: bulletInspect the clothing carefully,


bulletEnsure proper fit, and


bulletMake sure the protective clothing functions properly.

From what material should protective clothing be made?

Protective clothing comes in a variety of materials, each suited to particular hazards. Conduct your hazard assessment. Identify the sources of any possible bodily injury. Install any feasible engineering controls, and institute work practice controls to eliminate the hazards. If the possibility of bodily injury still exists, provide protective clothing constructed of material that will protect against the specific hazards in your workplace. Materials for protective clothing include the following: bulletPaperlike fiber. Disposable suits made of this material provide protection against dust and splashes.


bulletTreated wool and cotton. Protective clothing made from treated wool and cotton adapts well to changing workplace temperatures and is comfortable as well as fire resistant. Treated cotton and wool clothing protects against dust, abrasions, and rough and irritating surfaces.


bulletDuck. This closely woven cotton fabric protects employees against cuts and bruises while they handle heavy, sharp, or rough materials.


bulletLeather. Leather protective clothing is often used against dry heat and flame.


bulletRubber, rubberized fabrics, neoprene, and plastics. Protective clothing made from these materials protects against certain acids and other chemicals.

Be aware that different materials will protect against different chemical and physical hazards. When chemical or physical hazards are present, check with the clothing manufacturer to make sure that the material selected will provide protection from the specific chemical or physical hazards in your workplace.

How do I make sure employees properly use the body protection I provide?

Train your employees to use the protective clothing. Checklist G will help you instruct them in the use and care of the body protection.

[Checklist G - Use and Care of Body Protection]


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This page was updated on 30-Mar-2016