PPE assessment

The purpose of the EH&S PPE Assessment tool is to assist with selecting PPE based on workplace hazards and provide instruction on when the PPE should be utilized.

The information provided in the Glove Selection Guide table is a generalization about the performance of each glove material. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) appropriate for the work conditions must be worn when working with laboratory hazards. At minimum this must include:

  • Laboratory coats (or other protective clothing such as aprons, scrubs, coveralls, etc.) 
  • Safety glasses or splash goggles
  • Gloves appropriate to the hazard
  • Fully enclosed footwear (no sandals, flip-flops or ballet shoes)

A documented hazard assessment should be used to determine additional/appropriate PPE for your work. Visit the FAQ section on the Standard Operating Procedures page for more information about completing a hazard assessment.

Hearing conservation is an important objective in overall employee health at Iowa State University. The major goal is to reduce continuous noise levels below a Time Weighted Average (TWA) of 90 decibels through the implementation of reasonably feasible engineering and administrative controls. Visit our Noise and Hearing Protection page to learn more about your options at Iowa State University.

Iowa State University is governed by a State of Iowa contract for the purchase of prescription safety glasses. The program provides access to prescription safety glasses at contract pricing and coverage of a portion of the cost by the state. The approved program administrator is SafeVision by HOYA.

Departments should evaluate the amount of co-pay costs to be covered by department funds and direct employees to approved locations (PDF) to be fitted and have their safety eyeglasses ordered.

State of Iowa employee instructions for ordering prescription safety eyewear:

  1. Have your supervisor sign the Prescription Eyewear Request Form (PDF).
  2. You will need a valid eyewear prescription to order prescription safety eyewear (within two years). The doctor of your choice may provide your exam; eye exams are the employee's responsibility.
  3. Fill in your personal information on the request form, and take the request form and your current prescription to the provider/dispensing location of your choice.
  4. The optician at the provider location will help you pick out the style of lenses and frames that best suit your personal needs (see safety frame catalog [PDF]). Sample frames will also be available at the provider locations to aid you in selection.
  5. A series of options are available for you to choose from. Co-pay prices are listed with each frame group, and any amount due must be paid by the employee when the order is placed using a credit/debit card. Cash payments will not be accepted, and a money order is the only option for those unable to pay using a card.
  6. The optician will fill out the remainder of your order form and send it to Hi-Tech Optical.
  7. Once SafeVision has manufactured your glasses, they will be returned to the provider location. An optician at the provider location will contact you and let you know you can come in to pick up your glasses.
  8.  When picking up your glasses, they will be cleaned again, and you will receive a professional fitting for any needed adjustments.

The OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard requires medical evaluation, fit testing, and training for individuals who intend to wear respiratory protection.  Iowa State University employees required to wear respiratory protection according to their job description or research protocol must participate in the ISU Respiratory Protection Program. Visit the Respirators page to learn more about using respiratory protection for your work.

OSHA considers disposable, filtering facepieces (N95, dust masks) to be respirators, and their use is regulated. Employees whose job description requires them to wear respiratory protection must participate in the ISU Respiratory Protection Program. Refer to the ISU Respiratory Protection Manual (PDF) for program details.

Employees who voluntarily use these devices for purposes that are not part of job requirements do not need to participate when the following conditions are true:

  • Exposure to airborne contaminants is below OSHA permissible exposure limits (PELs)
  • Exposure is only to non-toxic nuisance materials 
  • A procedure or research protocol does not require use
  • Respirators are not worn to reduce exposure to gases or vapors

Voluntary users must follow the use, storage, and disposal guidelines on the Respirators page.

Where to buy PPE


The following retailers on CyBuy sell PPE. Log in to Workday and select the Procurement tile.

  • Central Stores
  • Chemistry Stores
  • Fisher Scientific
  • Grainger
  • Henry Schein
  • ODP Business Solutions (previously known as Office Depot)
  • Avantor (also known as VWR International)

Retail counters on campus