Clemson University

Appendix G



This regulation requires employers to ensure that personal protective equipment be “provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary…” to prevent injury. This includes protection of any part of the body from hazards through absorption, inhalation or physical contact.

Employers must not only ensure that the proper personal protective equipment is available and properly maintained, but they must also ensure that employees wear the proper personal protective equipment.

eye wear

Section I.         Introduction                                 

           II.        Equipment

          III.       Special Hazards

          IV.       Eye-Hazard Areas

          V.        Supervisor's Responsibilities



The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and good safety practices dictate that "Protective eye and face equipment shall be required where there is a reasonable probability of injury that can be prevented by such equipment.  Suitable eye protectors shall be provided where machines or operations present the hazard of flying objects, glare, liquids, injurious radiation, or a combination of these factors." Employers must provide a type of protector suitable for work to be performed and employees must use the protectors. These stipulations also apply to supervisors, management personnel, and visitors while they are in hazardous areas.               

Eye and face protection is required whenever there is a risk of injury to the eye or face. Eye and face protection can prevent accidental splashes of hazardous chemicals or a biological material.  It can also protect from:

  • accidental chemical or biological splashes
  • unexpected flying objects or particles (chips, shards) from someone nearby using a machine or hand tool
  • non-ionizing radiation

Eye and face protection must meet the ANSI Standard Z87.1.

A risk assessment should be conducted before appropriate eye and face protection is chosen. If help is needed in completing a risk assessment contact Research Safety staff.

Protective eye and face devices purchased after July 5, 2006, must comply with ANSI Z87.1-2010, American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection.

New to the Z87.1-2010: 

Formerly, there was no specification for the soft tissue area around the eye that was to be protected by safety glasses. It was assumed that the position of the test “shots” would define this issue. This was found to be inadequate. Therefore, the new standard now has a minimum coverage area defined by a space of 40mm in width by 33mm in height in an elliptical shape centered over each eye and centered on the geometrical center of the lens. For smaller heads, this dimension changes to 34mm by 28mm and testing for the smaller size must be performed on the 54mm PD headform. Frames tested to the smaller size will require a special mark of the letter “H”.

Marking requirements have changed significantly: issues such as what marking is required, where the marking should be located and how it should be sequenced apply to both lenses and frames.

• Lens markings for Rx:

o All lenses will have the manufacturer’s logo

o Coverage for small heads will have: “H” (this pertains to rimless designs)

o Impact rated will have a “+”

o Specific lens types will need to be marked as noted:

ƒ Clear: no mark

ƒ Welding: “W” shade number

ƒ UV Filters: “U” scale number

ƒ Visible light filter: “L” number

ƒ IR Filter: “R” scale number

ƒ Variable tints: “V”

ƒ Special purpose: “S”

• Frames and shield markings for Rx:

o All frames will have the manufacturer’s logo.

o Size markings will be in accordance with ANSI Z80.5 – 2004 and will include the “A” dimension, DBL on the fronts with temple length on the temples.

o Impact rated frames will be marked “Z87-2+” on the front and on one temple.

o Small head tested frames will be marked with the letter “H”.

o All detachable sideshields are to be marked “Z87 +” if impact rated.

• Sequence of markings:

 o Frames for Rx spectacles that are impact rated will be: manufacturer’s logo (“ABC”), Standard mark (“Z87-2”) and impact mark (“+”)

o Lenses for Rx that are impact rated will be: Manufacturer’s logo (“ABC”), impact mark (“+”) and other special marks as indicated by lens type.

Aftermarket components not sold with the original device must be tested on the device for which it is intended. For example, sideshields must be tested with test documentation made available upon request. The entity making the claim for the aftermarket device is responsible for the testing and documentation.



The type of eye protection required depends on the hazard. For most situations, safety glasses with side shields are adequate. Where there is danger of splashing chemicals, safety goggles are required. For more hazardous operations, a combination face shield and safety goggles or glasses (some of which may be supplied with prescription lenses) should be used. Failure to wear the prescribed eye-protection equipment is grounds for disciplinary action. The Office of Research Safety will assist in the choice of suitable protective equipment.

Protectors must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Provide adequate protection against the particular hazard
  • Be reasonably comfortable when worn under the designated conditions
  • Fit snugly without interfering with the movements or vision of the wearer
  • Be durable
  • Be capable of being disinfected
  • Be easily cleanable and kept clean and in good repair


A.    Selection

Each eye, face, or face-and-eye protector is designed for a particular hazard. In selecting the protector, consideration should be given to the kind and degree of hazard, and the protector should be selected on that basis. Where a choice of protectors is given, and the degree of protection required is not an important issue, worker comfort may be a deciding factor.

Persons using corrective spectacles and those who are required by OSHA to wear eye protection must wear face shields, goggles, or spectacles of one of the following types:

  • Safety Spectacles with protective lenses providing optical correction
  • Goggles worn over corrective spectacles without disturbing the adjustment of the spectacles; or
  • Goggles that incorporate corrective lenses mounted behind the protective lenses.

For those employees who wear prescription lenses and a suitable safety glass to be worn over your lenses cannot be found, you should request through your supervisor to have your lenses incorporated into safety glass frames. The University has a contract with Clemson Eye in Clemson to provide safety spectacles or goggles with protective lenses providing optical correction. In most cases, these frames can be obtained from the Eye and Lens Assoc. for $50-100 (you must provide a prescription from your Optometrist/Ophthalmologist or arrange with the Eye and Lens Assoc. to provide that service independently of this arrangement). Approved safety frames that may be taken to your Optometrist for insertion of protective lenses providing optical correction are available from Fisher and other safety supply companies. Safety spectacles require special frames. Combinations of normal street wear frames with safety lenses are not in compliance. All safety glasses must have adequate sideshields.

Types of Eye Protection

Clear Safety Glasses

The use of safety glasses is appropriate protection when hazardous materials are used or there is another risk of injury to the eye. Safety glasses are sufficient for minimal splash hazard and are good for protection against large projectiles.

clear glasses

Clear Safety Goggles


Safety goggles should be worn if there is a moderate risk of splash from a hazardous material. They may also need to be worn when working with high risk chemicals or processes. If the goggles have a cloth or foam seal, these may not provide enough protection from chemical splashes. Remember, not all goggles are equal. 

  • Direct vented goggles: a direct flow of air from the atmosphere in the lab into the goggles. These are good to use when projectiles are the main concern, and they are not good for protection against a splash or vapor.
  • Indirect vented goggles: covered vents allow the passage of air between the lab and in the goggles, but not liquids. These goggles provide protection against splashes (as well as any projectiles). 
  • Non-vented goggles: no venting of any kind. These protect against dust, mist, liquid, and vapor hazards. When the hazards is a gas, these provide adequate protection, though they are not equivalent to gas-proof goggles. 


Face Shield

A face shield should be worn if there is a high risk of splash from a hazardous material. Examples of when a face shield should be worn include the following:

  • When there is a high risk of a splash of hazardous material (chemical, blood, etc.),
  • While removing hot liquids from an autoclave,
  • When dispensing liquid nitrogen,
  • Working with high risk chemicals or processes such as highly reactive chemicals and concentrated corrosives, and
  • Vacuum or pressurized glassware systems.

When using a face shield, safety glasses or goggles should be worn underneath.

face shields

Tinted Glasses/Goggles/Face Shield/etc.

Tinted or shaded lenses may be necessary for protection from radiant energy (e.g. lasers and welding). Depending on the type of radiant energy, the wavelength of the laser, etc. the kind and color of safety protection will vary. When choosing the correct eye protection, be sure to determine what optical density (OD) is needed in safety glasses or goggles. Remember, the higher the OD number, the lower the light transmittance. LaserShields is a site that can be interactive and helpful in determining what lenses are needed. The same tinted eye/face protection may not be acceptable for all lasers in a given lab. 

tinted glasses

B.    Inspection and Maintenance

It is essential that the lenses of eye protectors be kept clean. Continuous vision through dirty lenses can cause eyestrain - often an excuse for not wearing the eye protectors. Daily inspections and cleaning of the eye protector with soap and warm water, or with a cleaning solution and tissue, is recommended.

Pitted lenses, like dirty lenses, can be a source of reduced vision. They should be replaced. Deep scratches or excessively pitted lenses are apt to break more readily.

Slack, worn-out, sweat-soaked, or twisted headbands do not hold the eye protector in proper position. Visual inspection can determine when the headband elasticity is reduced to a point beyond proper function.

Goggles and safety glasses should be kept in a case when not in use. Spectacles, in particular, should be given the same care as one’s own glasses, since the frame, nose pads, and temples can be damaged by rough usage.

Personal protective equipment should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Several methods for disinfecting eye-protective equipment are available. The most effective method is to thoroughly clean all parts with soap and warm water. Carefully rinse all traces of soap, and replace any defective straps, etc. If it is known or suspected that eyewear is contaminated with a hazardous substance, swab thoroughly or completely and immerse all parts for 10 minutes in a solution of germicidal deodorant fungicide. Remove parts from solution and suspend in a clean place for air-drying at room temperature or with heated air. Do not rinse after removing parts from the solution because this will remove the germicidal residue that retains its effectiveness after drying.

The dry parts or items should be placed in a clean, dust-proof container, such as a plastic container with lid, closable bag, or cabinet designed for the storage of safety glasses, goggles, etc. to protect them until usage or reissue.

Personal protective equipment that is shared and has been previously been used must be thoroughly cleaned/disinfected before being issued to another employee.



Contact lenses do not provide eye protection. The capillary space between the contact lenses and the cornea may trap material present on the surface of the eye. Chemicals trapped in this space cannot be washed off the surface of the cornea. If the material in the eye is painful or the contact lens is displaced, muscle spasms will make it very difficult to remove the lens. Therefore, contact lenses must not be worn by persons exposed to hazardous chemicals unless appropriate safety eyewear (goggles) is also worn to provide full protection.  It is the responsibility of supervisors to identify employees who wear contact lenses.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that where the eyes and body of any person may be exposed to injurious materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body must be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.



Eye-protective equipment must be worn in the following areas:

  • In laboratories where hazardous chemicals are used or stored.
  • Explosive materials are handled.
  • Hollow glassware is under vacuum or pressure.
  • Cryogenic materials are handled.
  • Flying particles may be generated (grinders, mills, power saws, drill presses, lathes 
  • Molten metal is used or metal is melted (soldering, leading joints, etc.).
  • Gas or electric arc welding is done.
  • Processes can produce aerosols of infectious agents (removing lyophil vials from liquid nitrogen, etc.).
  • Any area posted “Eye Hazard Area“.


Help for supervisors in identifying "Eye-Hazard Areas" is available from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.



The supervisor is responsible for:

*                           Determining that an eye hazard exists.

*                           Placarding the work area.

  • Determining the type of eye protection equipment needed; obtaining necessary assistance from the Office of Research Safety.
  • Ensuring that the equipment is available to employees.
  • Ensuring that the accessory protective equipment is worn by employees.




29CFR 1910.95 


Exposure to high noise levels can cause hearing loss or impairment. It can create physical and psychological stress. There is no cure for noise-induced hearing loss, so the prevention of excessive noise exposure is the only way to avoid hearing damage. Specially designed protection is required depending on the type of noise encountered.

Preformed or molded ear plugs should be individually fitted by a professional. Waxed, cotton, foam, or fiberglass wool earplugs are self-forming. When properly inserted, they work as well as most molded earplugs.

Some earplugs are disposable, to be used one time and then thrown away. The non-disposable type should be cleaned after each use for proper protection. Plain cotton is ineffective as protection against hazardous noise.

Earmuffs need to make a perfect seal around the ear to be effective. Glasses, long sideburns, long hair, and facial movements, such as chewing, can reduce protection. Special equipment is available for use with glasses or beards.

For extremely noisy situations, earplugs should be worn in addition to earmuffs. When use together, earplugs and earmuffs change the nature of sounds; all sounds are reduced including one’s own voice, but other voices or warning devices are easier to hear.

Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees are provided and use hearing protection where it is needed. To determine if employees in your area are being exposed to hazardous noise levels and should be wearing hearing protection, contact the Office of Research Safety.



Hand Protection and Glove Selection

Summary: Use this checklist to choose the appropriate type of protective glove for your job. The Glove Selection Chart also provides advantages and disadvantages for specific glove types. This guidance was prepared for laboratory researchers but may also be helpful for other people working with hazardous materials.


Glove selection is difficult for many lab staff.  Different references seem to give conflicting information and the many available styles and types of glove materials add another layer of confusion.  The process of glove selection can also be very time consuming.   Consequently, many chemical users select a glove that may not be appropriate for the chemicals in use.  

Due to the publicity surrounding the death of a prominent Dartmouth researcher, Federal OSHA has placed a strong emphasis on hand protection in the workplace, especially in academic and R&D labs.

Supervisors are responsible for the selection and application of gloves and other personal protective equipment in the workplace. 

The key to adequate glove selection is to only use the glove selection charts and information provided by the glove manufacturer technical staff for the glove in use and to not rely on other references.  This is advisable since different manufacturers use different formulations for their polymers and a glove from one firm may not have the same chemical resistance as a glove which appears to be an identical glove made by another firm. 

Glove selection based on the manufacturers’ glove selection charts is often impossible, as only a limited range of chemicals have been tested for use with a specific manufacturer’s glove.   In particular, many research grade chemicals are used in such small quantities that they will probably never be tested by the various glove manufacturers.  If a chemical is not listed on a glove selection chart it is advisable to have a specialist in personal protective equipment (PPE) make the glove selection for you. Usually, the manufacturer of the chemical will have specialists available to help you with this selection. In this case the PPE specialist would attempt to match the known characteristics of the chemical to be used with the known characteristics of the polymers commonly used to make gloves to select a glove that would be appropriate. 

If a particular manufacturer’s glove charts vary from the glove selections below, follow the manufacturer’s glove charts for the model of glove recommended. Fisher Scientific and other lab supply distributors carry an assortment of 4 mil and 8 mil disposable nitrile gloves.  They also a wide variety of other types of gloves.

Latex gloves, especially thin, disposable exam gloves, are widely used in labs, shops and many other work environments.  Our concern is two-fold: latex gloves offer little protection from commonly used chemicals and many people, up to 20% of the population by some estimates, are allergic to latex products. 

The use of latex gloves is only appropriate for:

            most biological materials

            nonhazardous chemicals

            clean work area requirements

            medical or veterinary applications


Latex gloves offer no protection against many common lab and shop chemicals.  They will severely degrade, often in a matter of seconds or minutes, when used with some materials.

Staff required to wear latex gloves should receive training on the potential health effects related to latex.  Hypo-allergenic, non-powdered gloves should be used when possible.  If a good substitute glove material is available, use gloves made of a material other than latex.  A general purpose substitute for latex products are light-weight nitrile gloves.

Many of the recommendations below are for “incidental contact.”  This means that, as with many chemical procedures, no or very little actual contact with a chemical in use is anticipated.

The gloves specified are basically there to prevent chemical contact with the skin when something goes wrong--a spill or splash to the hand, over spray from a dispensing device, etc.  As

soon as practical after the chemical makes contact with the gloved hand the gloves are removed and replaced.  Often a glove specified for incidental contact is not suitable for extended contact, when the gloved hands may come into substantial contact with or actually may become covered with or immersed in the chemical in use.  Generally speaking, a more substantial glove is required for extended contact than incidental contact, although there are exceptions.

The practice of double gloving is recommended for many materials listed below.  Two pairs of gloves are worn, one over the other.  This affords a double layer of protection.   If the outer glove starts to degrade or tears open the inner glove continues to offer protection until the gloves are removed and replaced.  Best practice is to check the outer glove frequently, watching for signs of degradation (change of color, change of texture, etc.).  With the first sign of degradation remove the outer glove and replace with new gloves.  

There are different approaches to double gloving.   The most common practice is to wear a heavier disposable glove (8 mil nitrile) under a thinner glove (4 mil nitrile).  The thinner outer glove provides dexterity and can be changed frequently in the event of incidental splash, while the inner glove provides the primary protective barrier. It is sometimes desirable to double glove with two sets of gloves made from different materials.  Here, in the event of the failure of one material, the second, different material will act as a protective barrier until the gloves can be removed.   The technique of using gloves of different materials is often advisable when a mixture of hazardous materials is in use.  One type of material gives protection against one component or class of chemicals in the mixture and the second glove material gives protection against other components of the mixture.  The requirements for double gloving and the materials of the gloves selected are specific to the chemical(s) in use.

For those materials that are rated "supertoxic" which are easily absorbed through the skin,

the glove material generally recommended is Norfoil (Silver Shield by North Hand Protection, 4H by Safety4, or New Barrier  brand by Ansell Edmont).  Norfoil is a thin, five layer laminate with each layer made of a different polymer.  They are chemically resistant to a wide range of materials that readily attack other glove materials.  (Note that one of the common lab chemicals for which they are not recommended is chloroform.)  Norfoil gloves look odd, like they were stamped out of a common garbage bag.  They tend to be somewhat bulky but dexterity is regained by using a heavier weight (8 mil) disposable nitrile glove over the Norfoil glove.  These gloves and others are from Fisher Scientific and lab safety supply houses.

Definitions for terms used in glove selection charts, the materials of which gloves are  made and those used to describe different characteristics of gloves are listed towards the end of this document.


What to do
How to do it

1. Identify the hazards of the material(s) you'll be working with.

1. Base selection of glove type and material on the type of exposure and nature of the hazard. Some chemicals can easily penetrate gloves that work very well for other chemicals.
Consider these factors:

  • Chemical type
  • Temperature extremes, cryogenic properties
  • Physical hazards (sharps, piercing objects)
  • pH
  • Toxicity
  • Infectious potential of biological hazards

2. Read the Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for each chemical involved.

2. Determine if you'll have incidental or extended contact with the hazardous materials.

1. Incidental contact (little or no direct contact with the hazardous material) includes these situations:

  • Accidental spills or splashes
  • Accidental overspray from a dispensing device
  • Handling infectious agents that require barrier protection
  • To prevent contamination of materials during handling

If you will have incidental contact, go to the Step 3.

2. Extended contact includes these situations:

  • Handling highly contaminated materials
  • Submerging hands in a chemical or other hazardous substance
  • Need for physical protection from temperature extremes or sharp/piercing objects

If you will have extended contact, go to Step 4.

3. For incidental contact, follow these selection guidelines.

1. Type of glove: Disposable, surgical-type gloves are appropriate for incidental contact.
2. Nitrile gloves are preferred over latex because of their chemical resistance, their tendency to visibly rip when punctured, and to prevent possible latex allergies.

  • See the Glove Selection Chart below for advantages and disadvantages of commonly used surgical-type gloves.

3. Disposable glove usage:

  • Check for rips or punctures before use.
  • Remove and replace gloves immediately with new ones when a chemical spills or splashes on them.
  • Never wash or reuse disposable gloves.
  • Always remove glove before touching common objects such as doorknobs, phones, or elevator buttons.

4. For extended contact, follow these guidelines.

1. Type of glove: More substantial gloves are required for extended use.

  • Norfoil gloves are recommended for highly toxic materials and materials that are absorbed through the skin.
  • See the Glove Selection Chart below for advantages and disadvantages of commonly used gloves for extended contact.

2. Reusable glove usage: Many gloves intended for extended contact are reusable.

  • Check the gloves for:

    • Rips or punctures before and after each use
    • Prior contamination
    • Signs of degradation (change in color or texture)
    • Replace gloves as soon as signs of degradation appear.
    • Wash after removal and air dry in the laboratory.
    • Consider wearing inner surgical gloves for extra protection.

ALWAYS wash your hands after removing gloves.

Watch a short video on correct hand washing.


Questions about glove selection?
Please contact The Office of Research Safety for additional information (650-0341)

Note: These photos are examples. Glove colors and appearances will vary. Many other models are commercially available in each glove category. UC Berkeley EH&S does not intend inclusion of any specific glove to be an endorsement.

glove chart 1

glove chart 2

glove chart 3

glove Chart 4


Additional Resources

Summary: Use these additional resources for information on specific chemicals or glove materials.

Chemical compatibility and permeation charts

Vendor Web sites

  • Fisher Scientific
  • Lab Safety Supply Inc.
  • Kimberly-Clark Professional
  • MAPA Professional
  • North Safety Products
  • Best Glove Selection Tool
  • VWR

Latex information

  • NIOSH Alert: Preventing Allergic Reactions to Natural Latex Rubber in the Workplace (June 1997)
  • NIOSH's Latex Allergy Prevention Guide

Other types of personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Cole-Palmer Instrument Co. (chemical compatibility search page)
  • NIOSH Recommendations for Chemical Protective Clothing


Lab Coats


Lab coats are required in CU laboratories when working with hazardous materials.

“At a minimum, a laboratory coat or equivalent protective clothing is required for work with hazardous chemicals, unsealed radioactive materials, and biological agents at BL2 or greater.” In some cases, through a hazard assessment, laboratory supervisors may identify situations (a task, experiment, or area) where alternative or more protective apparel must be worn.

1. Lab Coat Uses

When properly used, lab coats:

  • Provide protection of skin and personal clothing from incidental contact and small splashes.
  • Prevent the spread of contamination outside the lab (provided they are not worn outside the lab).
  • Provide a removable barrier in the event of an incident involving a spill or splash of hazardous substances.

2. Limitations of Lab Coats

In general, protective clothing, including lab coats, should not be used as a substitute for engineering controls such as a chemical hood, a glove box, process enclosure, etc., or as a substitute for good work practices and personal hygiene. For significant

chemical handling, it will be necessary to supplement lab coat use with additional protective clothing, for example, a rubber or vinyl apron for handling large quantities of corrosives or hydrofluoric acid, or it may be preferable to use chemical resistant coveralls for full body protection. Conversely, use of engineering controls such as fume hoods do not preclude the need for wearing the proper PPE, including lab coats.

Some known limitations of lab coats include:

 Lab coats are not designed to be the equivalent of chemical protection suits for major chemical handling or emergencies.

 With the exception of language in the OSHA bloodborne pathogen standard1 pertaining to use of lab coats for protection of work clothes from blood or other potentially infectious material, there are no design or test criteria specified in regulations or guidelines specific to lab coats. What this means is that:

  • Lab coats are not tested for typical conditions that might be encountered in a research lab with respect to chemical use, or combined research activities.
  • There is little or no information provided by manufacturers or distributors about the capability of a lab coat for a combination of hazards. A coat that is described as “flame resistant”, such as treated cotton, may not be chemical resistant or acid resistant.
  • A coat that is advertised as flame resistant has not been tested using criteria involving flammable chemicals on the coat. The term “flame resistant” refers to the characteristic of a fabric that causes it not to burn in air. The testing criteria involves applying an open flame to the bottom edge of a strip of fabric in a test chamber for 12 seconds and then looking at char length, after flame, and after glow, testing the self extinguishing properties of the fabric. The flame resistance test criteria were intended to simulate circumstances of a flash fire, or electric arc flash, not a chemical fire.

3.  Selection (Hazard Assessment)

With the limitations above in mind, lab coats are made of different materials, and it is important to select a coat or coats of appropriate material for the types of hazards in the lab. The first step in this selection process is to determine the types of hazards that exist in your lab and the reasons for the lab coats.

Some questions to consider are the following:

 Does your lab work primarily with chemicals, biological agents, radioisotopes, or a mix of things?

 Does your lab work involve animal handling?

 Are there large quantities of flammable materials (>4 liters) used in a process or experiment?

 Are there water reactive or pyrophoric materials used in the open air, e.g. in a fume hood instead of a glove box?

 Are there open flames or hot processes along with a significant amount of flammables?

 How are hazardous chemicals used and what engineering controls are available, e.g. a chemical hood or glove box?

 Is there a significant risk of spill, splash or splatter for the tasks being done?

 What is the toxicity of chemicals used and is there concern about inadvertent spread of contamination?


The CHP Template contains a lab specific SOP form that can be used for assessing the hazards. Another assessment tool is the

“PPE Hazard Assessment Form” linked from:

3.1 Choosing the Right Lab Coat

While there are many different style features, from a protection standpoint the best coats have the following characteristics:

 Tight cuffs (knitted or elastic)

 Snap closures on the front for easy removal in case of contamination

 Coats with different properties are easy to tell apart (ex: FR coats should have outer markings clearly identifying them as FR coats and can be ordered in a different color than other coats present in the lab)

 Proper fit

 Appropriate material for hazards to be encountered Once you determine hazards, you can review information on some typical lab coat materials, with guidance on use and limitations, in the Lab Coat Table at the end of this document to help determine the best materials for your lab. As noted above, there are limited specifications for lab coat materials with respect to typical lab use scenarios, and most of the information is in OSHA 29CFR 1910.1030(d)(3)(i) Provision.

One coat may not work for all lab operations. Some people may want to provide a basic poly/cotton blend coat for most operations, but have available lab coats of treated cotton or Nomex for work involving pyrophoric materials, extremely flammable chemicals, large quantities of flammable chemicals, or work around hot processes or operations. If chemical splash is also a concern, use of a rubber apron over the flame resistant lab coat is recommended. Lab coat materials may be made of materials for limited reuse, or disposable one time use.


3.2 Flame Resistant (FR) Lab Coats

Work with pyrophoric, spontaneously combustible, or extremely flammable chemicals presents an especially high potential for fire and burn risks to the skin. RS recommends the use of fire retardant or fire resistant (FR) lab coats to provide additional skin protection where the individual will be working with these chemicals. The primary materials used for FR lab coats are FR-treated cotton or Nomex. Further information is available in the table at the end of this document, as well as from the RS Office Preferred Vendors (VWR and Fisher).


4. Getting a Lab Coat

The Supervisor/PI is responsible for assuring that required PPE, including lab coats, is available, used, and maintained.


5.  Lab Coat Use

When lab coats are in use, the following should be observed:

 Wear lab coats that fit properly. Lab coats are available in a variety of sizes. Some lab coat services also offer custom sizes

(e.g., extra long sleeves, tall, or woman’s fit). Lab coats should fasten close to the collar to provide optimal protection.

 Lab coats should be worn fully buttoned or snapped with sleeves down.

 Wear lab coats only when in the lab or work area. Remove lab coats when leaving the lab/work area to go home, to lunch, to the restroom, or meetings in conference rooms, etc.


6. Spill or Splash

In the event of a significant spill of a hazardous material on the lab coat, remove the coat immediately. If skin or personal clothing is impacted,

it will be necessary to proceed to an emergency shower. Remove any contaminated clothing, and shower. Generally, significantly contaminated coats and clothing will be considered a hazardous waste, and must be managed based on the type of contamination. If you have questions about significance of contamination from a specific incident, contact the RS Office.

If your coat becomes contaminated, please notify RS.  


7. Emergency Fire Involving Lab Coat or Clothing

The action will depend on the circumstances of the fire. If only the lab coat is on fire, remove it, leave the area, and call 911 or activate a fire alarm. If both lab coat and clothing are on fire, shout for help then stop, drop, and roll, or proceed to an emergency shower (if close by) to extinguish the fire. If the area is also on fire, leave the area, closing doors as you leave, stop drop and roll, or proceed to hallway safety shower, if available. Activate fire alarm or call 911.

Seek follow-up medical attention.


8. Lab Coat Cleaning

Personnel are not allowed to launder lab coats at home. Clean non-disposable soiled lab coats routinely by use of a laundry service or work area washers and dryers. Frequency of cleaning will depend on the amount of use and contamination.

A laundry facility for the cleaning of laboratory coats or other laboratory clothing has been established in Room 71 in the basement of the P&AS Building.  Some departments have established their own laundry facility. Please check with your departmental office/lab manager to find out if you department has such a facility. Departmental facilities must follow the same general guidelines as those listed below.


Rules established for this laundry facility are as follows:

1.     You must obtain a key from Room 129 of the Poole Agricultural Building. The key may be obtained after 8:00am and should be returned by 4:15pm.  Calling ahead to ensure that facility is not is use is a good idea.

2.     The door must be locked (please turn off light, also) when finished , and the key must be returned promptly to Room 129 when your laundry activity is complete.

3.     NO personal clothing may be laundered in this equipment.

4.     When transporting lab coats to this building, ensure that they are contained (heavy-duty trash bags, etc.) in such a way that they do not come in contact with the interior of the vehicle in which they are being transported.

5.     Laboratory coats worn in areas where radioactive materials are used must survey "clean" before they can be laundered in this equipment. (Questions about this should be directed to Konstantin Povod at 650-7165)

6.     Lab coats that are known to be contaminated (i.e., by a spill) may need to be treated as hazardous waste depending on the type of contamination (Direct questions to June Brock-Carroll at 633-6357).        

7.     You must furnish your own detergent, bleach, etc.

8.     After washing lab coats, run an empty cycle with detergent to remove any residue from the washer.

8.     You must clean up after yourself; deposit all trash in can provided, etc.

9.     Chemically-resistant gloves and apron should be worn by personnel responsible for handling the laundry.

10.  Report any problems (mechanical or otherwise) involving this facility to RS at 656-0341.


*Scheduling a pick-up day for laundering and having someone assigned to pick up and launder laboratory coats for the department is recommended.

** If you do not clean your lab coat/ apparel routinely, you increase the risk of personal contamination through accumulation.


Lab Coat Information Table






Vendor and Model Info

Splash Resistance/ Chemical Resistance


Flame Resistance







Polyester/Cotton Blend Listed by percent polyester then percent cotton.

80/20 or 65/35 or 40/60 common. (Recommend at least 65%/35% for chemical research lab setting.)

Supplier: Cintas Manufacturer: Cintas Model: 59925

Supplier: North Star Manufacturer: Fashion Seal

Model: 439

May be fluid resistant. Check information from manufacturer.

Unknown chemical resistance. Anecdotally, better for work with acids than cotton.

No. Burns readily.

Lightweight breathable. The more cotton, the more breathable.

Most common for clinical settings (hospitals, clinical labs) and labs handling biological materials and small amounts of flammables.

Limited testing indicates poly/cotton fabrics will burn readily upon contact with pyrophoric chemicals, so poly/cotton coats must not be worn for handling such chemicals.

100% Cotton

Supplier: Cintas Manufacturer: White Swan

Model: 650

Supplier: North Star Manufacturer: Fashion Seal

Model: 420

Not fluid resistant or fluid proof. Degraded by acids. Anecdotally, more resistant to solvents.

No.   Burns less readily than poly/cotton blends, but still burns.

Lightweight breathable

Good for labs where acid handling is limited and splash resistance is not a concern, and there is some work with flammables, heat and flame. Supplement with an apron for acid handling.

FR treated materials (either 100 % Cotton or primarily cotton treated with flame retardant)

Supplier: Cintas Manufacturer: Red Kap Model: KP72WH

Supplier: North Star Manufacturer: Bulwark Model: KEL2LB

Not necessarily fluid resistant.   Degraded by acids. More resistant to solvents. Not generally tested for chemical resistance.


No information.

Better for lab settings with significant fire hazard, with an understanding of the limitations of the testing criteria for flame resistance (see background). Supplement with an apron for acid handling. More costly. Will not lose flame resistance with laundering over typical use life of coat. No bleach should be used by the laundry service.

Dupont Nomex

Supplier: Cintas Manufacturer: White Knight

Model: OM60

Supplier: North Star Manufacturer: Bulwark Model: KNL6RB

Unknown splash and chemical resistance. There is a claim for chemical resistance, including acids, alkalis, and most solvents, but specific testing information could not be found.



Expensive. Flame resistance is maintained even with laundering, provided bleach is not used. Good for settings where there may be an arc flash or flash fire. Used in petrochemical industry.

Limited testing demonstrates nomex does not burn readily on contact with pyrophoric materials so is a good material for such work.

Polypropylene lab coat.

Various models available from VWR through ECAT.


Ex: VWR Cat. #414004- 346




Intended for protection from dirt, grime, dry particulates in relatively non- hazardous environment such as animal handling and clean rooms. Burns readily.

VWR Microbreathe Lab Coat

Available from VWR through ECAT


VWR cat. #14001-814

Fluid resistant for blood and body fluids and chemicals




For clinical and biological lab settings, and some chemical labs. Snap front, so can be readily removed. Not good for settings with significant fire hazard.

Kimberley Clark A65 Lab Coat (Disposable FR Coat)

Available from VWR through ECAT.

No Information.



Product literature mentions  lab use.

Reusable Fluid Resistant Coats

Supplier: Cintas  Manufacturer: White Knight

Model: BAR 01

Supplier: North Star Manufacturer: Fashion Seal Model: 6403

Front material reportedly fluid resistant; “breathable” back material is not.


Permeable material in back of coat to increase comfort.

Generally the front and sleeves are “fluid resistant” material, while the back is a more permeable material for user comfort.




Electronic Resources