The Important Types of Personal Protection Equipment

The Important Types of Personal Protection Equipment 

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is an essential part of any professional biohazard remediation company.  Our specialized, certified, technicians are trained to ensure each site is restored to its former state, with the knowledge,  professionalism and compassion  after any traumatic event occurrence. Our number one goal is to help.


At times, this help exposes technicians to an array of potential diseases, bloodborne pathogens, and other biohazards. Due to these potential hazards, Bio-One of Knoxville Metro adheres to strict OSHA-compliant cleaning methods, including donning the necessary PPE. Each situation is different and therefore can have varying protection requirements, which is why the US Department of Health & Human Services developed a 4-level system of PPE.


Basic Elements of PPE

Types of Protection

There are many types of protective equipment, each with specific applications and use requirements. Information on common elements of the PPE ensemble include:



Responders should use appropriate respirators to protect against adverse health effects caused by breathing contaminated air.

NIOSH Respirators Guidance (CDC/NIOSH)

·         Surgical mask – mainly used to protect against splashing; protects a person/subject from the wearer’s mouth and does not generally filter air effectively.

·         N-95 respirator – protects against dust, mites, and other small airborne particles. Often used in labs while working with infected biological materials.

·         Half-mask respirator – actively filters air and protects against transmittable diseases, fumes, and toxic chemicals.


·         Full-face respirator – used in similar situations as the half-mask, but with added protection for the eyes and face.


Eye & Face

Eye and face protection should protect responders from the hazards of flying fragments, hot sparks, and chemical splashes. Any part of the body with a mucus membrane is extremely sensitive, especially the eyes.

NIOSH Eye Safety Guidance (CDC/NIOSH)

·         Basic safety goggles – protect from projectiles but not effective against splashing.

·         Chemical splash goggles – these goggles have suction that fit around the eyes to protect from debris and chemical splashes.

·         Face shield – face shields protect the entire face from debris, projectiles, and splashes of any kind. They’re normally worn over chemical splash goggles for extra protection and are used when handling highly toxic materials.



Skin protection should be used when responders may be exposed to harmful substances. Protecting the extremities and torso is also crucial when handling biohazards. Skin protection can come in various forms including overalls, lab coats and full-body suits. To ensure total safety, our biohazard cleanup technicians wear full-body suits when applicable. Since remediating a biohazard scene is a hands-on job, it comes naturally that gloves and would also be essential.

NIOSH Protective Clothing & Ensembles Guidance (CDC/NIOSH)

Skin protection:

·        Cotton/polyester blend – general chemical/biological and physical hazards.

·        Flame-resistant – used while working with explosive or corrosive chemicals.


·        Polyester – provides protection from splashing while working with infectious material.


Hand protection:

·        Disposable latex gloves – used while handling blood & tissue samples and protects against bloodborne pathogens.

·        Disposable nitrile gloves – these are more resistant to puncture/abrasion than normal latex gloves and are used when handling biological and chemical materials.


·        Rubber latex gloves – mainly used when handling small volumes of corrosive chemicals & flammable solvents.



Earplugs or earmuffs can help prevent damage to hearing. Exposure to high noise levels can cause irreversible hearing loss or impairment as well as physical and psychological stress.

NIOSH Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention Guidance (CDC/NIOSH)

·        Expandable Foam Plugs – formable material designed to conform to shape of each person’s ear canal.

·        Pre-molded, reusable plugs – Made from silicone, plastic or rubber and are manufactured as either “one-size-fits-most” or are available in several sizes.

·        Canal Caps – earplugs on a flexible plastic or metal band.

·        Earmuffs – Many models designed to block out noise by covering the entirety of the outer ear, some include electronic components to help users communicate while blocking damaging noises.