Kevin Ian Schmidt

PPE Selection and Usage Guide

PPE is an important component of workplace safety, as no matter how safe you make the workplace with engineering and administrative controls, there will always remain some hazards. Knowing how to pick the right equipment is important, and choosing the wrong equipment can create an unidentified hazard.

After completing your Job Hazard Analysis, and after all engineering and administrative controls are in place, then start consulting these guides to find the optimal PPE for your identified hazards.

No one PPE selection guide is completely comprehensive, so we are offering multiple guides here, plus links to more resources.


What is required when your company implements PPE:

  • Only use PPE as a last resort;
  • If PPE is still needed after implementing other controls (and there will be circumstances when it is, eg head protection on most construction sites), you must provide this for your employees free of charge;
  • You must choose the equipment carefully (see selection details below) and ensure employees are trained to use it properly, and know how to detect and report any faults.

Selection of PPE:

  • Who is exposed and to what?
  • How long are they exposed for?
  • How much are they exposed to?
Check Out: PPE Hazard Assessment and Certification

When selecting and using PPE:

  • Choose products which are ANSI marked
  • Choose equipment that suits the user – consider the size, fit and weight of the PPE. If the users help choose it, they will be more likely to use it
  • If more than one item of PPE is worn at the same time, make sure they can be used together, eg wearing safety glasses may disturb the seal of a respirator, causing air leaks
  • Instruct and train people how to use it, eg train people to remove gloves without contaminating their skin. Tell them why it is needed, when to use it and what its limitations are


Other advice on PPE

  • Never allow exemptions from wearing PPE for those jobs that ‘only take a few minutes’
  • Check with your supplier on what PPE is appropriate – explain the job to them

Download OSHA’s 3151 PPE guide; it is an exhaustive guide for PPE selection:



Download this PPE Selection and Usage Guide if you have a need for medical PPE:



Download the PPE Selection and Use Guide from Duke University, which includes links to Duke University policies for specific safety concerns:



Download this PPE selection guide from UC Davis, it covers PPE with pictures and hazard mitigation suggestions:



Download this PPE Selection Guide from the US Department of Homeland Security for Emergency First Responders:



Michigan State University EHS Department PPE Guidelines

MTSU’s PPE Selection Guide

Tuft’s University PPE Selection Guide

CDC Guidance for the Selection and Usage of PPE in Healthcare setting

UCLA’s PPE Selection Guide for Hazard Assessments

University South Florida Hazard Control and PPE Selection Guide


RAND Corporation PPE Guide for Emergency Responders

University of Washington Guidelines for PPE

Stony Brook University PPE Guide for laboratory researchers

Montana Tech PPE General Guidelines for Selection and Use

OSHAcademy Course 709 PPE Study Guide for selection and use

Central Michigan University PPE Selection Guide

CDC/NIOSH PPE Guide for hazardous materials Incidents


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