Lab Attire and Standard PPE

Laboratory safety begins with proper lab attire. Anyone working in a lab must wear shoes that cover the entire foot, and clothing that does not leave skin exposed below the waist. Long hair must be tied back.

Standard (or “minimum”) PPE that MUST be worn for most lab work includes:
✔ Eye protection: safety glasses
✔ Protective clothing: lab coat
✔ Hand Protection: gloves

Exceptions to the standard PPE MUST be based on a hazard assessment performed by the lab and documented in the Blue Book.

Contact EH&S for assistance with PPE selection and other PPE and lab attire questions.

Additional PPE Information

Protective Clothing

Lab coats or other appropriate protective clothing identified in the hazard assessment (see Appendix 3) must be worn while working in a laboratory or clinic. Protective clothing must provide adequate coverage and protection so that there is no skin exposed to hazardous materials. Flame-resistant lab coats should be used when pyrophoric or water-reactive chemicals are used. Employees must not take lab coats or other protective clothing home, including for cleaning. Contact your Department for lab coat cleaning services.

Long hair should be tied-back and loose clothing and jewelry should be removed when working with machinery or other equipment with moving parts.

Selection and Use of Gloves

Gloves appropriate to the task must be worn and should be selected based on the hazard assessment (see Appendix 3). For assistance in determining the appropriate chemical protective gloves, please consult glove manufacturer guidelines for chemical resistance. Labs may also contact EH&S at for assistance in glove determination. Appropriate thermal gloves must be worn when handling extremely hot or cold items. Gloves appropriate for autoclave use are not appropriate for handling cryogenic liquids.

Eye/Face Protection

Eye protection must be worn for most lab work and is required when working with or near hazardous materials (chemical, biological, radiological and/or physical hazards). Exceptions may be made based on a hazard assessment by the lab and must be documented in the Blue Book.
Examples of such exceptions include:
• When working at a computer workstation
• When walking through the lab to an interior office

At a minimum, eye protection should consist of safety glasses or prescription glasses with side shields that are ANSI Z87.1 approved. Regular prescription glasses do not provide adequate eye protection.

Splash goggles must be worn for operations or areas in which significant splash hazards exist. These include, but are not limited to:
• Handling large quantities of hazardous liquids (including infectious or potentially infectious materials)
• Blending/homogenizing
• Handling liquids under pressure or vacuum
• Handling cryogenic fluids

Face shields must be worn in addition to safety glasses or goggles whenever there is a risk of flying particles or splashes of hazardous materials that may cause serious damage to the eye or skin(e.g. filling liquid nitrogen dewars).

Foot Protection

Footwear must provide adequate protection from hazardous material spills. Shoes which leave areas of the foot exposed are not appropriate for use in a laboratory.


Respiratory protection should not be necessary under normal lab operations. However, when effective engineering controls (i.e., fume hoods) are not feasible or while they are being implemented or evaluated, respiratory protection may be required. Prior to purchasing or wearing a respirator, contact EH&S to complete a mandatory medical questionnaire, fit test, and training. Training and fit testing must be done on an annual basis or when the health status, physical condition, or job duties of the individual change.

Note: Surgical/isolation masks do not provide respiratory protection and should only be used to protect mucous membranes from splashes of infectious material. Use of an N95 respirator (i.e., filtering face piece) requires enrollment in the Respiratory Protection Program. Voluntary use of respiratory protection is acceptable upon completion of the required form and medical evaluation, if applicable.