May 2, 2008, Newsletter Issue #114: The ABCs of chemical hazards

Tip of the Week

PPE should be selected based on the specific hazards present in a given situation. EPA identifies four levels of chemical protective ensembles for responding to chemical spills:

Level A protection is used when contaminants are present that require the highest possible degree of both respiratory and skin protection. This ensemble includes the use of an atmosphere supplying respirator such as a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and a totally encapsulating chemical protective (TECP) suit.

Level B is used when contaminants are present that require the same degree of respiratory protection as Level A, but a lesser degree of skin protection such as a splash suit that is not totally encapsulating or gas tight.

Level C involves the same degree of skin protection as Level B, but a lesser degree of respiratory protection, which includes air purifying respirators.

Level D provides protection against only normal workplace hazards and is not designed to protect against chemical hazards. Equipment may include safety glasses, hard hats, steel-toe boots and leather work gloves.

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