Hazards exist in every workplace. It is the priority of the University to eliminate and control hazards. When a hazard cannot be eliminated or controlled, and the work is to continue, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be used. PPE is designed to protect many parts of the body, including the eyes, face, head, hands, feet and ears. It should act as a primary barrier between the hazard and the worker. It does not reduce the hazard.

Specific hazards must be properly understood in order to select the correct PPE for the job. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to select the PPE appropriate to the work being done. PPE is provided by the department unless otherwise noted and should conform to CSA Standards. Contact Environmental Health and Safety for information to assist in selecting the appropriate type of protection.

It is the responsibility of the employee to use the PPE.

Care should be taken to ensure the PPE fits properly and is in good condition. Equipment should be checked regularly and damaged equipment should not be used. It should be identified and removed from service until repaired or replaced. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to provide and arrange for proper training in the use of PPE.

Protective Face and Eyewear

An individual exposed to eye injury shall wear eye protection appropriate to the circumstances. The types of eye and face protection include safety glasses, goggles, face shields, welding helmets and full hoods. Coverage from the front and sides is required any time there is a danger of something striking the eye.

In those cases where prescription safety glasses are required, they will be provided by the individual. Such glasses must meet all the requirements for safety glasses as specified by the CSA Standard for Eye and Face Protectors (CSA-Z94.3-92).

If contact lenses are worn, full coverage eye protection should be used.

Head Protection

Head protection is required when working where there is risk of injury from moving, falling, or flying objects or when working near high-voltage equipment. Hard hats are designed to protect from the impact and penetration caused by objects hitting the head or from limited electrical shock or burns.

Hand Protection

Hand protection is designed to protect hands against a variety of hazards. The protection can be provided in different ways, barrier creams, finger guards, hand pads, mitts and gloves. There are different types of gloves for different types of work, such as gloves for handling chemicals, oil-based products, abrasive materials, etc. The right type of protection must be worn for the work performed.

For a great glove selection tool, visit the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauve en sante et en securite du travail (IRSST).

Foot Protection

Safety footwear is designed to protect feet against a variety of injuries. Impact, compression and puncture are the most common types. Footwear should be chosen according to the hazard and should be properly rated (CSA Z195-M92). See Foot Protection for a hazard based approach.

Carleton University currently has a contract with a Safety Shoe Provider. In line with the Covid-19 measures in place, the supplier for safety footwear, Work Authority, will not be on campus to provide safety footwear for CUPE 2424 employees this year. For more information regarding the purchasing of Foot Protection, please contact procurementservices@cunet.carleton.ca or visit the Procurement Services page.

Hearing Protection

Hearing protectors reduce the amount of sound energy reaching the ears. Hearing protection is required for noise levels above 90 dBA. There are different types of hearing protection for different types of work. Ear plugs are inserted into the ear to block the ear canal. Ear muffs fit around the ear. Radio headsets may not be used as a substitute for hearing protection. (Hearing Protectors CSA – Z94.2-M1984)

Respiratory Protection

Respiratory protective devices vary and are used to protect a worker from contact with airborne contaminants or an oxygen-deficient environment. Respirators may be air-purifying or air-supplying devices. The selection of a respirator should be based on the CSA Standard. It is essential the wearer be properly instructed for safe use and fit. (Selection, Use and Care or Respirators CSA – Z94.4-93).

You may find information on the different types of respirators, when they should be used, their capabilities/limitations and assigned protection factors, as well as fit testing information on the EHS Safety Sheet #2 – Respirator FAQs.


Lab coats and aprons protect clothing and prevent contact with hazardous materials in labs and workshops. Contaminated lab coats and gloves should not be worn outside of the lab or workshop.