NIOSH logo and tagline

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Protect the Worker with PPE

Healthcare workers suiting up with personal protective gowns, caps, and gloves putting protective eyewear on.

Photo by Getty Images

PPE is the last line of defense and least effective method of control against a hazard and does NOT take the place of engineering or administrative controls. Effective use of PPE relies on the user and is only used until better controls can be identified and implemented.

Selection of PPE depends on the potential risk of exposure to a hazard. Examples of PPE by body areas include:

  • Eyes (e.g., safety glasses, goggles, laser protective eyewear)
  • Ears (e.g., ear plugs or muffs)
  • Face (e.g., face shield)
  • Hands (e.g., exam gloves, chemotherapy gloves)
  • Feet (e.g., shoe coverings)
  • Torso/body (e.g., fluid resistant gowns, impervious splash suit, laser protective clothing)
  • Lungs/respiratory tract (e.g., N95 filtering facepiece respirator, elastomeric half-mask respirator, powered air- purifying respirator (PAPR), surgical mask, and protective shields and barriers