Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Classification Systems


Civilian PPE

 
OSHA/EPA Classification 1, 2 Level A Level B Level C Level D
Protection provided Highest level of skin, eye, respiratory protection Highest level of respiratory protection; lower level of skin protection. Lower level of respiratory and skin protection.

Adequate for radiation event response where other hazards have been determined not to be present.
Lowest level of respiratory and skin protection.
Indications Identified or suspected hazards requiring maximal skin, eye, and respiratory protection.

Working in confined areas where hazards have not been fully characterized.
Identified or suspected hazards requiring maximal respiratory protection.

Working in atmospheres containing less than 19.5% oxygen.

Lower level skin hazard may be present.
Hazards have been identified.

Hazards will not be absorbed by or adversely affect exposed skin.

All criteria for using an air purifying respirator are met (i.e., concentrations of all airborne contaminants are known, appropriate filters are available, oxygen levels are sufficient).
Atmosphere contains no known hazards

No or very low potential for unexpected respiratory or skin contact with environmental hazards.
Who should wear First responders

When identified or potential risk of biological, liquid or vapor chemical hazard exposure exists.
First responders

When entering the most heavily contaminated radiation zones to rescue victims or protect valuable property necessary for public welfare
First responders and first receivers

When caring for patients/victims likely to be contaminated with radiological material
First receivers

When working in post-decontamination areas should wear Standard Precautions PPE (per protocol) for infection control purposes3


Levels of Personal Protective Equipment: Advantages and Disadvantages
 
Level Description Advantages Disadvantages
A Completely encapsulated suit and self-contained breathing apparatus Highest level of protection available for both contact and inhaled threats Expense and training requirements restrict use to hazardous materials response teams; lack of mobility; heat and other physical stresses; limited air supply
B Encapsulating suit or junction seams sealed, supplied air respirator or self-contained breathing apparatus High level of protection adequate for unknown environment entry, supplied air ensemble with increased mobility and dexterity Dependence on airline or limited air supply; heat and physical stresses; expense and training significant; fit testing required
C Splash suit and air-purifying respirator Significantly increased mobility, decreased physical stress, extended operation time with high levels of protection against certain agent; no fit testing required for hood type Not adequate for some high-concentration environments or less than atmospheric oxygen nvironments or high levels of splash contamination; expense and training moderate
D Work clothes, including standard precautions for health care workers (eg, gloves, splash protection) Increased mobility, decreased physical stresses, extended operation time Offers no protection against chemical or other agents; expense and training minimal

Source: Hick JL, Hanfling D, Burstein JL, Markham J, Macintyre AG, Barbera JA. Protective equipment for health care facility decontamination personnel: regulations, risks, and recommendations. Ann Emerg Med. 2003 Sep;42(3):370-80. [PubMed Citation]

 

 
NFPA* PPE Classes Class 1 Class 2 Class 3 Class 4
  OSHA/EPA Level A PPE Equivalent

NFPA 1991 (2005 ed.) "Class 1" PPE ensemble worn with NIOSH CBRN SCBA
OSHA/EPA Level B PPE Equivalent

NFPA 1994 (2007 ed.) "Class 2" PPE ensemble worn with NIOSH CBRN SCBA

OR

NFPA 1971 (2007 ed.) "CBRN option" PPE ensemble worn with NIOSH CBRN SCBA
OSHA/EPA Level C PPE Equivalent

NFPA 1994 (2007 ed.) "Class 3" PPE ensemble worn with NIOSH CBRN APR/PAPR

OR

NFPA 1994 (2007 ed.) "Class 4" PPE ensemble worn with NIOSH CBRN APR/PAPR

OR

NFPA 1951 (2007 ed.) "Technical Rescue Ensemble" worn with NIOSH CBRN APR/PAPR
OSHA/EPA Level D PPE Equivalent

NFPA 1994 (2007 ed.) "Class 4" PPE ensemble

* NFPA is the National Fire Protection Association

See also:

top of page


Military PPE - Mission-Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) Gear

 
MOPP Gear MOPP 4 MOPP 3 MOPP 2 MOPP 1 MOPP 0 MOPP Ready
Indications Attack with CBRN agents is imminent or has already occurred.

OR

CBRN hazard is not fully characterized.
Attack with CBRN agents is probable or has already occurred. Preattack.

Attack with CBRN agents is likely.
Preattack.

Attack with CBRN agents is possible.

Time to achieve MOPP 4 from MOPP 1: ≤4 minutes
Preattack.

Period of increased alert.

Time to achieve MOPP 4 from MOPP 0: ≤8 minutes
Preattack.
Protection Provided Highest degree of skin, eye, respiratory protection. Used in areas where skin contact with liquids or vapors is nonhazardous.

Highest degree of respiratory protection.
High degree of skin protection. High degree of protection against persistent chemical agents None immediately.

Equipment must be available within 5 minutes for putting on ("donning").
None.
Respiratory protection Worn Worn Carried Carried Carried Carried
Overgarment Worn Worn Worn Worn Readily available Can be issued within 2 hours
Boots Worn Worn Worn Readily available Readily available Can be issued within 2 hours
Helmet Cover Worn Worn Worn Readily available Readily available Can be issued within 2 hours
Gloves Worn Readily available Readily available Readily available Readily available Can be issued within 2 hours

See also: More REMM information about Military MOPP gear

top of page