Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The purpose of the personal protective equipment (PPE) program is to protect researchers, employees, students, and visitors from potential hazards in the work environment. However, eliminating hazards through engineering or administrative controls provides better and more consistent protection than relying on PPE alone. If PPE is necessary, it is best used with engineering and/or administrative controls along with good work practices.

A key element of the program includes a thorough hazard assessment of activities, processes and work areas to determine the nature and degree of hazards, determination of the engineering and administrative controls that are in place and relevant regulations. When the hazard assessment indicates that PPE is required, departments must select and provide PPE that properly fits employees. 

The program applies to all University organizational units at all locations including the Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma Campuses; UW Medical Centers, University owned property; University leased space; and temporary field locations under the control of University operations staff. The program covers hazard protection for the eyes, face, head, hands, feet, whole body and drowning. PPE for respiratory, hearing, elevated work, electrical, and welding are covered by other programs, but shall be documented in the hazard assessment for PPE.

COVID-19 prevention

Guidance for using PPE and face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is available on the COVID-19 Health and Safety Resources page in the Face coverings and PPE section.

What you need to know

What you can do to stay safe

Services available

EH&S provides the following services:

  • Advice in use of the hazard assessment guidelines
  • Advice on specific PPE
  • Identify engineering and administrative controls

If you need assistance in identifying engineering or administrative controls or in selecting PPE for a hazard or activity, contact EH&S at 206.543.7388.


More Information


Changing how or when workers do their jobs, such as scheduling work and rotating workers to reduce exposures

Using controls such as chemical fume hoods to work with chemicals, installing physical barriers to control a mechanical hazard, and/or physically changing a machine or work environment

includes equipment such as safety glasses, goggles, face shields, gloves, hard hats, safety shoes, respirators and hearing protectors

Training workers how to perform tasks in ways that reduce their exposure to workplace hazards

Frequently asked questions