Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the University’s Chemical Hygiene Plan require the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce employee exposure to laboratory hazards. PPE must be readily available and provided at no cost to the employee. It is the responsibility of the laboratory Principal Investigator to provide PPE to his/her employees. Please review the Laboratory PPE fact sheet to ensure that you are complying with the requirements.
Use of PPE Outside of Laboratories
- Protective Clothing and Equipment
Chapter 5 of the UNC Laboratory Safety Manual
- Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards
The National Academies Press 2011 Edition (free access online)
- Laboratory Safety Guidance
OSHA Booklet (2011)
- Experimenting With Danger
Chemical Safety Board video on laboratory safety (YouTube)
Lab Coats and Fire Resistance
Highly fire-resistant because the fabric thickens, carbonizes and remains intact under fire conditions. Used widely in occupations where fire is a real hazard and can be laundered without losing fire-resistant properties.
Cotton coats are available that are treated with a fire-resistant material. Fire-resistance may dissipate after repeated laundering.
Superior to synthetic blends for fire-resistance, but inferior to Nomex and fire-resistant cotton.
100% polyester coats, or cotton/polyester blends are the most combustible and are not considered appropriate for working with flammables.
Cleaning of Lab Coats
Do not take lab coats home and launder them because of the potential for contamination of the home environment. Currently, Departmental Laundry Services offers a service to clean, fold and press lab coats, or to clean, dry, and fold other items (lab cloths or towels). Contact University Laundry Services at 919-962-1261 for prices and to arrange for pick-up and delivery of lab coats. Check with your department’s business manager to find out if your department already has an arrangement for laundering lab coats.