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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Anthrax CollagePersonal protective equipment (PPE) shields or isolates workers from health and safety hazards in the workplace. In a site where anthrax spores may be present, PPE protects workers from exposure to respiratory and skin hazards and prevents the spread of contaminants to uncontaminated areas.

Skin Protection
Protective ClothingWearing protective clothing protects the skin and can prevent the transfer of contamination off-site. The appropriate level of skin protection, which should be outlined in the HASP, is determined based on the site conditions. The appropriate level of skin protection used at an anthrax-impacted site should include, at a minimum, the following:
  • Tyvek or equivalent coveralls

  • Unpowdered disposable gloves made of lightweight nitrile or vinyl
Appropriate PPE selection will take into account the following:
  • Skin ProtectionDoes it protect the skin from contact with anthrax spores?

  • Does it protect the worker form contact with chemicals used in the response?

  • Does it protect the worker from other site hazards identified in the HASP? 
  • Can it can be taken off safely and left at the site to prevent the transfer of contamination off-site.
The following links include more detailed information on Skin Protection:

Respiratory Protection
Respiratory ProtectionSince airborne spores generally pose the greatest threat to personnel, respiratory protection is a necessary component of the PPE program. The OSHA respiratory  protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134) requires you to establish and comply with an effective respiratory program. Program requirements include:
  • Program administration;

  • Worksite-specific procedures, respirator selection, employee training, fit testing;

  • Medical evaluation; and
  • Respirator use, cleaning, maintenance, and repair.
To date, experience has shown the following to provide adequate protection for most response, sampling, and decontamination activities involving spores:
  • Powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) with P100 filters, or

  • Full-face negative pressure air purifying respirators (APRs) with N95 filters.
Some emergency response operations may require that first responders wear the following with their normal Hazardous Material response ensembles:
  • Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).
The following links include more detailed information on Respiratory Protection:

PPE Training
Response WorkersIt is essential that personnel be trained on the proper use of PPE to ensure they receive greatest protection possible. Employers should certify in writing that the training has been provided and that employees understand what they need to know about PPE. The certification should show the name of each employee trained and the dates and types of training provided.
Workers should be trained to know:
  • When PPE is necessary

  • What type of PPE to use

  • Where the PPE is located

  • How the PPE should be worn
  • What the PPE limitations are

  • How long the PPE is likely to last

  • How to properly maintain and dispose of the PPE
In addition, appropriate personnel decontamination and contamination containment procedures are needed for workers using PPE to prevent exposure to anthrax. In general, these procedures are similar to those for asbestos abatement and include:
  • Isolating contaminated areas

  • Negative-pressure ventilation

  • A three- to five-stage decontamination line with a shower for equipment and personnel

  • Appropriate waste disposal
For additional detailed information about Respiratory Protection see the following:

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