Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is another component of the Industrial Hygiene program. Work packages receive a hazard evaluation during the planning process. The Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) Checklist is used to identify hazards associated with the work scope and the control methods to be used, including the use of PPE, to balance those hazards. Tank farm workers receive training for a variety of PPE, including respiratory protection equipment (RPE), based on the individual worker’s job location/scope.

A respirator is a device worn by workers to protect against harmful dust, fumes, vapors or gases. Air-purifying respirators (APRs) use a filter cartridge to clean the air before it enters the respiratory tract.

A Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPR) is a battery-operated article of PPE that is equipped with a fan providing clean breathable air through filters and supply hoses that are connected to the face masks or mouth pieces.

The self-contained breathing apparatus, or SCBA, provides fresh air from a bottle on the worker’s back. Bottles typically have a 30- to 60-minute supply of air.  SCBA units provide fresh air through a regulator that is attached to a mask that seals to the user’s face. SCBA is the respiratory protection prescribed for situations that require the most protection.

HAMMER and the Chemical Vapors Solution Team (CVST) were tasked with evaluating different SCBA harnesses to identify harnesses which are relatively more ergonomic and lighter in weight. WRPS established a SCBA Equipment Evaluation Team (SEET) comprised of an equal balance of bargaining unit employees and WRPS management. The SEET focused on identifying possible new, market ready SCBAs for potential future use.

Whether or not respiratory protection is required, tank farm workers always have the option of upgrading their PPE.

PPE Quick Facts

How are PPE selections made?

Are workers trained on proper use?

  • Workers attend classes at the Volpentest Hazardous Materials Management and Emergency Response (HAMMER) Federal Training Center to receive hands-on training
  • Classes meets OSHA and ANSI requirements
  • Workers are trained on selection, inspection, assembly, use and hands-on training scenarios