June 24, 2021

OSHA Resource Summarizes PPE Information for Emergency Workers

A new pamphlet published by OSHA summarizes information about personal protective equipment for emergency response and recovery workers responding to events such as natural disasters and accidental releases or incidents related to biological hazards or terrorism. OSHA stresses that while PPE can help minimize these workers’ exposure to hazards, it should be the “last line of defense” following engineering and administrative controls. The new publication describes the role of PPE, steps for employers to develop a disaster-specific health and safety plan, and worker safety practices.

The document also outlines the four levels of emergency response-type PPE, which ranges from Level A, the most protective, to Level D, the least protective. Level A PPE provides the highest level of respiratory, skin, and eye protection, while level D includes only minimal skin protection. According to OSHA, emergency response and recovery workers must be trained on the conditions that require PPE and procedures to prevent and reduce exposure.

The pamphlet is available as a PDF download from OSHA’s website. The agency also offers more detailed information on PPE for emergency response and recovery workers.

Related: AIHA’s Disaster Response Resource Center includes information on health and safety issues in natural disasters, wildfire recovery, and flood response.