Compliance with National Standards

Standards are not currently available for all types of protective clothing or body protection. Where such standards exist, only those items of protective clothing and equipment that meet NIOSH, ANSI, ASTM, or NFPA standards, as appropriate, may be used. Questions regarding the suitability of a specific item for a given hazard should be referred either to the manufacturer or to EHS.


  • Chemical and Biological
  • Cuts and Abrasion
  • Electrical (Shock, Arc and Blast)
  • Extreme Heat or Cold
  • Low Visibility
  • Radiation
  • Airborne Particulates (ex. dust, dirt, soot, smoke, liquid droplets)

General Requirements

  • Departments will provide body protection for employees for the hazards in the work area to perform the jobs, if engineering or administrative controls have failed to eliminate these hazards.
  • Many types of protective clothing restrict airflow and inhibit evaporation of perspiration. Therefore, the risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke may be increased with some types of protective clothing.
  • Employee training on the symptoms of heat and cold stress and the use of engineering controls (e.g. increasing ventilation), administrative controls (e.g. employee rotation), and personal protective equipment (e.g. cooling vests) may be essential to ensuring employee safety in hot and cold work environments.
  • Note:  Except for extreme cold work environments, cold weather clothing is generally considered to be normal-wear clothing and is not covered by this program.

Types of Clothing and Body Protection

The protective clothing provided must be constructed of material that will protect against the specific hazards in the workplace. The degree of body protection should be carefully considered since this category covers aprons to gastight suits. Materials used in protective clothing include paper-like fiber, treated wool and cotton, duck, leather, rubber/plastics, etc.

  • Coveralls are designed to protect personal clothing while on the job.
  • Lab coats protect clothing and skin from dirt, inks, and chemicals. The effects of skin contact can range from relatively minor diseases such as dermatitis, to systemic poisoning, to risk of cancer, and death. Lab Coats Selection  (
  • Barrier gowns provide protection from Bloodborne pathogen splashes. (
  • Chemical Resistant Disposable suits, such as Tyvek® or PVC-coated, protect against harmful particulates, some liquid chemicals and pathogens.
  • Aprons come in a variety of materials to protect against a variety of hazards, such as chemicals, heat, sparks/slag, etc.
  • Chemical suits, used in hazardous material spills for example, are categorized by levels.
    • Level A suits provide protection against vapors and include a gastight zipper.
    • Level B splash suits, such as Tychem®, provide chemical and biological protection.
  • Arc-Rated Clothing (ARC) clothing is treated to self-extinguish when removed from flame or ignition sources. Clothing includes undergarments, coveralls, lab coats, overalls, shirts, and pants. NFPA 70E requires personnel working within an arc flash hazard boundary to wear arc-rated clothing. Employers must perform an arc flash hazard analysis (before allowing personnel to approach energized equipment) to determine the protection boundary distance and the appropriate level of ARC to be used. The Arc Thermal Protective Value (ATPV) must be calculated to determine the incident energy in calories per square centimeter (cal/cm2). The ATPV signifies the amount of incident energy that would just cause the onset of second-degree burns. It also signifies the amount of protection the clothing affords when an electrical arc comes in contact with the fabric. Each ARC garment is assigned an ATPV rating by the manufacturer. This rating must be noted on the garment label, along with other pertinent information.   See Arc Rated PPE Guidance Document Appendix G. Electrical-arc hazard protection consists of jackets, overalls, coats, leggings, and hoods with arc-protective face shields for full body protection. ATPV rating is typically 8, 20, 32, or 40 cal/cm2. (
  • Shock Protective Clothing is designed to isolate the wearer from the electrical current.  All equipment should be non-conductive materials and rated for the voltage. Shock Protective PPE Guidance Document for specific equipment information. (
  • Welding clothing is available in aprons or suits, and is typically made of leather to resist cuts, sparks, and slag.
  • Heat-reflective clothing includes aluminized coats, pants, leggings, aprons, sleeves, gloves, and hoods. This type of clothing is designed to repel molten metal splash and reflect 90% of radiant heat.
  • Cooling vests have bladder inserts for ice packs, or are water-soak activated. They are beneficial in heat stress situations.
  • High-visibility clothing comes in neon colors with reflective strips for work around traffic or other situations where the worker needs to be seen. Available in vests, jackets, bib overalls, insulated, waterproof, or lightweight. High Visibility clothing should be rated a minimum of Class 2 and should bear a label indicating the class level rating.
  • Steel mesh aprons provide protection against cuts, slashes, and lacerations to the torso. They are typically worn in the meat-cutting industry.
  • Floatation vests are worn when working around water.
  • Storage and Care
    • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding special care, cleaning, storage, and care.
    • Defective equipment should not be used and discarded.
    • Follow Lab Coats Cleaning and Disposal  Guidance.