What to Wear to Maximize Lab Safety

Scienceware Hot Hand Rubber Mitt

Scienceware Hot Hand Rubber Mitt

By wearing personal protective equipment and lab safety apparel, you protect yourself from chemicals, spills, toxins, germs, and other contaminants and perils in the lab and industrial settings. Here’s a checklist of what you may need:

  • Safety Gloves allow you to handle anything from biohazards to diffusion furnaces to liquid gas flasks to acids to solvents. When you’re wearing the correct type of glove for your application, you can withstand temperature extremes, punctures, static, jolts, and also maintain your grip. Types of safety gloves include disposables, cleanroom, temperature-resistant, cut-resistant, chemical- and liquid-resistant, and electrical safety gloves in various materials.
  • Face masks restrict exposure to construction dust, foods, allergens, and other particulates. A step up from face masks are respirators, which can protect you from breathing in solid and liquid particles. Full-face respirators provide maximum protection.
  • Aprons keep your personal clothing from being exposed to cryogenically cold materials, solvents, vapors, microporous particles, and more. Unlike lab coats and coveralls, aprons do not limit shoulder or arm movement. Some aprons include a waterproof liner. Select an apron material that is rugged enough for your environment.
  • Lab Coats or Barrier Gowns serve as a barrier from contaminants in the lab and your street clothes or uniform. When spills or splashes occur, they land on your lab coat instead of your sweater. Typically lab coats are made of cotton or specialized fabrics that will not melt. Gowns are generally lightweight and offer full frontal coverage to safeguard from light splashes, particulates, and some chemicals.
  • Coveralls offer more coverage than either aprons or lab coats. They are used for general maintenance, dry particulate protection, asbestos removal, paint spraying, and laboratory usage that necessitates a more comprehensive shield from dirt, grease, fluids, and more. Flame-resistant and water-repellent materials are available.
  • Shoe and boot covers protect from liquids and are water-resistant to safeguard shoes or boots. Some offer skid-free soles.

Check OSHA guidelines for specific suggestions and requirements.

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