Personal protective equipment

Which PPE should you use?

The following are considered basic PPE requirements for university labs:

Researchers must also determine, through hazard assessment, PPE specifications and whether additional PPE is required. Once you have determined your PPE needs, complete and post this PPE checklist in your laboratory. 


Respirators protect the wearer against exposure to airborne contaminants. They should only be used if engineering and administrative controls are insufficient to control a hazard. All respirator users must be fit-tested, a service that EHS provides free of charge to the university community. 

To determine if you require a respirator, complete a hazard assessment. If you require a respirator, schedule and complete fit-testing as follows:

  1. Take the short Respiratory Protective Equipment online course. This training describes the use and maintenance of a respirator. 
  2. Follow the steps in the online course to fill out the Health Screening Questionnaire for Respirator Users form. 
  3. Based on your response, you will receive an email with one of the following messages:
    • A request to schedule a followup appointment with Dominion Medical Centre (i.e., if you have a preexisting respiratory or cardiovascular condition). 
    • A link to the fit-test calendar. Select one of the "Respirator Fit-Test" appointment slots to schedule your fit-test (one fit-test slot per respirator type, please). Please keep a record of your appointment date and time -- the system does not generate reminders.
  4. Arrive for your fit-test appointment in Materials Management Building 2-40. After your fit-test, you will be provided with a printout of respirator specifications. 
  5. Order your respirator.
  6. Get to work! Refer to the Respirator Protection Program. 

A new fit-test is required every two years or if major changes occur, such as facial or dental surgery or weight gain/loss.

What if I need a followup appointment with Dominion Medical?

If you receive an email prompting you to contact Dominion Medical Centre for a followup appointment, call the clinic to schedule a consult. At the appointment, the doctor will either:

  • Clear you to wear a respirator and send an email to EHS with a clearance letter. EHS will contact you with a link to the fit-test calendar. 
  • Indicate that you should not wear a respirator for health reasons. Contact your supervisor to discuss alternate work activities. 

Contact with any questions.


Working in an area with dust, vapours or splash hazards? Choose splash goggles over safety glasses:

  • Seal around eyes
  • Protect against hazards from all directions
  • Can be worn over prescription glasses


Select gloves based on type of hazardous material being used in the laboratory. For example:

Biological -- disposable gloves
Chemical -- consult glove selection chart or safety data sheet to select appropriate glove
UV radiation -- cotton gloves
Physical -- abrasion-resistant gloves


Depending on hazards in the laboratory, additional PPE may be required:                                                                      
  • Hearing protection (note that noise-exposed employees must undergo audiometric testing)
  • Hard hat
  • Acid-resistant apron (for work with strong acids and bases)
  • Disposable sleeves (e.g., for work with high radioactivity research work)
  • Other PPE as determined by a hazard assessment.