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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

U.S. Geological Survey Manual

SM 445-2-H CHAPTER 26

Personal Protective Equipment

Date: April 20, 2017

Instruction:  This chapter is revised to update organizational changes and references.  The appendix and requirement for a written personal protective equipment plan were removed.  The section on penalties for failure to observe safety practices was removed and is located in Survey Manual 445.1.  The requirement for written hazard assessments is clarified in this chapter.

1.  Purpose.

A.  To specify the minimum Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Program requirements for the hazard assessment and the selection, usage, and maintenance of personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to perform assigned tasks.

B. Applies to all Bureau activities and operations as well as its employees, volunteers, contractors, and visitors.

2.  References.

A.  29 CFR 1910 Subpart I Personal Protective Equipment (General Industry), including Appendix B Non-mandatory Compliance Guidelines for Hazard Assessment and Personal Protective Equipment Selection.

B.  29 CFR 1915 Subpart I Personal Protective Equipment (Shipyard Employment).

C.  29 CFR 1917 Subpart E Personal Protection (Marine Terminals).

D.  29 CFR 1926 Subpart E Personal Protective Equipment and Life Saving Equipment (Construction).

E.  5 U.S.C. 7903 Protective Clothing and Equipment.

F.  351 Department Manual (DM) 1 Paragraph 1.7B.

G.  Department of the Interior Aviation Life Support Equipment (ALSE) Handbook.

H.  Acquisition of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Visual Identity System Clothing, Merchandise, and Other Items.

I.  Survey Manual (SM) 445-2-H Chapter 15 Job Hazard Analyses.
J.  SM 445-2-H Chapter 18 Respiratory Protection Program.

K.  SM 445-2-H Chapter 19 Hearing Conservation Program.

L.  SM 445-2-H Chapter 28 Underwater Diving Safety.

M.  SM 445-2-H Chapter 31 Watercraft Safety.

N.  SM 408.3 - Identification Clothing.

3.  Definitions.

Personal Protective Equipment.  The term must include, but is not limited to, devices designed to be worn by personnel for eye, face, head, respiratory, hand, arm, body, leg, foot, and fall protection.

4.  Requirements.

A.  Hazard assessment and equipment selection.

(1)  Jobs, sites, projects, and activities must be assessed for hazards that are present, or likely to be present, which necessitate the use of PPE.

(2)  Based on the hazard assessment, select controls to reduce or eliminate the hazards.

(a)  Engineering and work practice controls must be the primary means used to reduce employee exposure to hazards.

(b)  Administrative or work practice controls may be appropriate in some cases before engineering controls are implemented or where engineering controls cannot be implemented.

(c)  When the above controls cannot be implemented or are insufficient, PPE must be selected, and affected employees must use the selected types of PPE that will protect them from the hazards identified in the hazard assessment.  See SM 445-2-H.15 and Appendix B of 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I for hazard assessment guidance.

(3)  Each affected employee must be informed of the PPE selections required for job, site, project, or activity.  The PPE must be readily available when needed.

(4)  Selected PPE must properly fit each affected employee.

B.  Defective or damaged PPE.  Defective or damaged PPE must not be used.  Defective or damaged PPE must be disposed immediately and replaced.

C.  Training.

(1)  Employees who are required to wear PPE must be trained to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the following:

(a)  When PPE is necessary.

(b)  The type of PPE necessary.

(c)  How to properly put on, take off, adjust, and wear PPE.

(d)  The limitations of the PPE.

(e)  The proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of the PPE.

(2)  Retraining is required when an employee does not appear to have the understanding and skill needed, or job tasks/PPE changes rendering previous training obsolete.

D.  Payment for protective equipment.

(1)  Required PPE must be provided at no cost to employees and volunteers.  Contractors are responsible for procuring and providing PPE to contractor personnel.

(2)  This authority does not extend to clothing the employee would also purchase for personal-use.  See Acquisition of USGS Visual Identity System Clothing, Merchandise, and Other Items for more details.  Examples include: hats, gloves, bathing suits, coats, or umbrellas, unless:

(a)  The clothing is required to have special safety features not found in personal clothing.

(b)  The clothing is required for weather conditions more severe than encountered at the employee's duty station such as a winter parka for work in the Arctic.

(3)  Generally, the USGS may not purchase rain gear.  However, the mission may require employees to conduct field work during inclement weather in locations requiring high visibility apparel, such as on bridges or on roadside rights of way.  For such conditions, rain gear that meets color and reflective material requirements of relevant regulations may be stocked and issued as needed.

(4)  Supervisors and management may approve additional PPE provided it meets 26.4.D.(2)(a) and (b) or has been determined necessary by a site-specific job hazard analysis (JHA).  If a “personal needs” item is deemed necessary safety clothing, the purchase must be justified in a JHA with concurrence from the Regional Safety Manager or Occupational Safety and Health Management Branch safety manager with final approval by the Regional Director or Associate Director.

E.  Employee-owned equipment.  Where employees provide their own PPE, the supervisor is responsible for assuring its adequacy, proper maintenance, and sanitation.

F.  Eye and face protection.

(1)  Employees must wear appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to any hazards (e.g., flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation).

(2)  Contact lenses must not be worn in environments where there are chemicals, fumes, smoke, dusts, particles, or molten metals.  Contact lenses are not a substitute for approved eye protection and in some instances may increase the hazard to the eyes.  

(3)  Caution signs must be posted in order to designate eye hazard areas.  These signs must specify the type of eye protection to be worn before entering the area.

(4)  Prescription safety glasses must be purchased for employees who wear corrective lenses and are exposed to eye hazards on a continuing basis.  Eye protection that can be worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing their proper position may be used by employees with only occasional exposure.

(5)  Goggles must be worn to protect eyes from splashes of strong acids, bases, and other chemicals that may cause eye injury.

(6)  When a face shield or welding helmet is worn, it must be worn over the primary eye protection (e.g., safety glasses with side shields or goggles).

(7)  Additional eye and face protection requirements are described in 29 CFR 1910.133, 29 CFR 1915.153, 29 CFR 1917.91, 29 CFR 1926.102, and Aviation Life Support Equipment (ALSE) Handbook.

G.  Head protection.  

(1)  Employees must wear appropriate protective helmets when working in areas where there is a potential for injury to the head from falling objects.

(2)  Employees must wear appropriate protective helmets designed to reduce electrical shock hazards when near exposed electrical conductors which could contact the head.

(3)  Employees must wear appropriate protective helmets when working in areas where they may bump their heads against fixed objects (e.g., exposed pipes or beams).

(4)  A class of protective headgear on the market called a “bump cap” is designed for use in areas with low head clearance.  Bump caps may be used where protection is needed from head bumps and lacerations.  These are not designed to protect against falling or flying objects and do not meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or Office of Aviation Services (OAS) requirements.  Bump caps must not be used when head protection meeting ANSI or OAS requirements are required.

(5)  Additional head protection requirements are described in 29 CFR 1910.135, 29 CFR 1915.155, 29 CFR 1917.93, 29 CFR 1926.100, and Aviation Life Support Equipment (ALSE) Handbook.

H.  Hand protection.

(1)  Employees must wear appropriate hand protection when their hands are exposed to hazards (e.g., skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes).

(2)  Additional hand protection requirements are described in 29 CFR 1910.138, 29 CFR 1915.157, and Aviation Life Support Equipment (ALSE) Handbook.

I.  Foot protection.

(1)  Employees must wear appropriate protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, objects piercing the sole, working with or near heavy material or equipment, or from an electrical static-discharge or shock hazard.  Work boots consisting of a steel or composite toe and that cover the ankle may be appropriate for many field tasks. 

(2)  Open-toed shoes and sandals must not be worn in laboratories or when handling/working with corrosives.

(3)  Additional foot protection requirements are described in 29 CFR 1910.136, 29 CFR 1915.156, 29 CFR 1917.94, 29 CFR 1926.96, and Aviation Life Support Equipment (ALSE) Handbook.

J.  Electrical protective equipment.

(1)  Employees must use appropriate electrical protective equipment (e.g., insulating gloves, protectors, and/or insulating sleeves) when working on or near an exposed, uninsulated energized electrical lines or parts.

(2)  Insulating equipment must be inspected for damage (including an air test for insulating gloves) before each day's use and immediately following any incident that can reasonably be suspected of causing damage.  Refer to ASTM F1236-96 (2012), Standard Guide for Visual Inspection of Electrical Protective Rubber Products.

(3)  Electrical protective equipment must be tested periodically at the voltages and the maximum intervals as per Table I-4 and Table I-5 in 29 CFR 1910.137 (e.g., rubber insulating gloves must be tested before first issue and every 6 months thereafter).  A certification must be prepared that identifies the electrical equipment test results and the test date. 

(4)  Additional electrical protective equipment requirements are described in 29 CFR 1910.137 and 29 CFR 1926.97.
K.  Additional protective equipment or clothing.

(1)  Employees must wear additional appropriate protective equipment or clothing as determined by a hazard assessment (e.g., personal floatation devices, personal fall arrest systems, aprons, coveralls, full body suits, chaps, leggings, ice or snow traction devices for footwear, flame retardant clothing, puncture resistant clothing).

(2)  Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) are required in all operations near, on, in, or over water except where an approved site specific JHA identifies an increased level of hazard due to the use of a PFD and an exemption has been approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Program Manager. 

(a)  PFDs worn by employees must be U.S. Coast Guard approved Type III or Type V PFDs and be either international orange in color and equipped with retro-reflective tape as per 46 CFR 25.25-15 and 46 CFR 164.018 or meet the current ANSI 107 standard of yellow-green with the required retro-reflective material configuration.

(b)  Inflatable PFDs must not be worn when working in high flow/high risk flood conditions.  The air bladder may be compromised by striking objects in the water. 

(c)  Inflatable PFDs are not approved for children less than 16 years of age and are not recommended for use by non-swimmers.

(3)  High-visibility apparel meeting the current ANSI 107 standard must be worn by employees for:

(a)  Class 2 or Class 3 when working on or near roadways in daylight and good visibility.

(b)  Class 3 when working on or near roadways at night or during times of low visibility (e.g., rain, snow, or fog). 

(c)  Class 3 when working on bridges.  The employee must also wear a personal floatation device.  

(i)  When a Class 2 inflatable PFD is worn over a Class 3 traffic vest, the combination meets Class 3 standard.

(ii)  A float coat that meets the Class 3 standard does not require an additional traffic vest.

(iii)  Positive floatation PFDs and PPE that do not meet the Class 3 standard may not be used as high visibility PPE when working from highway bridges unless a traffic garment meeting the Class 3 standard is worn over the PFD.  Alternatively, Class E trousers, bib overalls, or shorts may be worn in combination with a Class 2 PFD/coat/vest which then meets the Class 3 standard.

(d)  In addition, comply with state and local regulations which may be more stringent (e.g., some states require Class 3 garments to be worn by employees working on or near roadways at any time, in any weather conditions).

(4)  Additional protective equipment requirements are described in 29 CFR 1915.158, 29 CFR 1915.159, 29 CFR 1917.95, 29 CFR 1926.106, 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M, Aviation Life Support Equipment (ALSE) Handbook, SM 445-2-H.31, and SM 445-3-H.2.

L.  PPE with USGS identifier or logo.  If PPE is intended to carry a USGS identifier or logo, it must meet the requirements of SM 408.3 - Identification Clothing.  Refer to the Acquisition of USGS Visual Identity System Clothing, Merchandise, and Other Items webpage when acquiring PPE with a USGS identifier or logo.

M.  Respiratory protection is addressed in SM 445-2-H.18

N.  Hearing protection is addressed in SM 445-2-H.19.

5.  Responsibilities.

A.  Director.  Directs the PPE program requirements through the Designated Agency Safety and Health Official. 

B.  Associate Directors and Regional Directors.

(1)  Ensure that respective region, mission area, or office implements and complies with PPE program requirements.

(2)  Provide staff and funding support to ensure that PPE program requirements are implemented and findings are abated.

C.  Designated Agency Safety and Health Official/Associate Director for Administration.

(1)Exercises the authority of the Director to develop, direct, and manage an effective PPE program.

(2)  Assigns PPE program authority to the Chief, Office of Management Services, for program management and administration.

D.  Chief, Office of Management Services.  Assigns PPE responsibilities to the Occupational Safety and Health Program Manager for program management and administration.

E.  Occupational Safety and Health Program Manager.

(1)  Ensures the establishment, oversight, and assessment of PPE program requirements.

(2)  Ensures the development of PPE policy.

(3)  Provides guidance and assistance in implementing PPE program requirements to mission area, office, or regional managers and supervisors.

F.  Regional Safety Managers.

(1)  Ensure local implementation of PPE program requirements.

(2)  Conduct inspections and external audits of PPE program requirements.  Ensure findings are tracked and abated in the Inspection and Abatement System.

(3)  Assist management and Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinators (CDSPCs) in implementing and complying with PPE program requirements.

G.  Science Center Directors, Cost Center Managers, and Project Chiefs.

(1)  Ensure that adequate staff and funding resources are provided to ensure PPE program requirements are implemented.

(2)  Ensure that PPE owned by USGS or by the employee is adequate for the job task(s) and employees are trained as per this chapter.

H.  Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinators.  Assist managers and supervisors in the implementation of PPE program requirements.

I.  Employees. 

(1)  Complete applicable PPE training.

(2)  Wear PPE that is required by the applicable hazard assessment.

(3)  Maintain personally issued PPE.

(4)  Report to their supervisors or CDSPCs any concerns regarding PPE.

Katie McCulloch for /s/Jose R. Aragon                                     4/20/2017
Jose R. Aragon                                                                        Date
Designated Agency Safety and Health Official

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
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Last modification: 11-May-2017@16:15