Topic: PPE

I am working toward a re-write of our PPE policy. Presently our health and safety officer requires all personnel walking the line (a fully automatic line with push/pull venting) wear full-face neg pressure respirators, gloves, and CPC coveralls.

Even this appears "safe" concerns for heat conditions for the workers and also the inability to communicate on the line should be taken into consideration.

we have sulfuric, hydrochloric acids and cyanide plating baths.

Anyone know of published proper PPE donning requirements?

I have never seen that level of PPE requirement even for supervisors walking the lines for inspections.



You need to have an Industrial Hygenist study and document your environment, and then make recommendations on your PPE requirements.

(For the following comments, I can only speak to my experience with regulations in the USA)

For airborne chemicals:

Typically, they will examine your ventilation system, using tables and formulas, to calculate the amount of a substance that is in the air. The manufacturer of your system will typically specify the equipment to operate at a certain level, but poor maintenance and system modifications will change that performance level. The MSDS for each product is consulted and the various exposure levels are noted. Going a step further, air monitoring can be conducted to come up with an actual value for chemical concentration. Typically, if the results from either (or both) studies is under the PEL, no respirator is required. It is also worth noting that anybody wearing an air-purifying respirator must be FIT tested and trained on its use and its limitations. If the chemical concentrations are above the PEL, a respirator is required, up to its purification factor. If, at any time, the chemical concetration is at or above the IDLH value, a respirator should not be worn. A positive-pressure, SCBA system must be used in those scenarios.

For the gloves and coveralls:

Read the MSDS for each chemical. Most of them require gloves when you are exposed to or are using the product. Most of them recommend the use of impervious clothing at the same time.

Personally, it shoulds like your policy is a bit too strict.  I've never worked at a facility that required such levels of PPE just for passing by a plating machine.  However, when an operator is using concentrated forms of a product, like when an add is being made to a bath, many facilities require the level of PPE that you are describing, and perhaps additional equipment, too.

Last edited by DustinGebhardt (07/10/2014 - 05:27 PM)

-Dustin Gebhardt, CEF

Advanced Manufacturing/Finishing Engineer


Sanford, NC