Maintaining safety within a laboratory is of utmost importance due to the various chemicals or easily contaminable components kept inside. Without taking adequate precautions, the chances are high of people decapitating a particular experiment or testing in the laboratory or people themselves getting harmed by certain elements present there. For all these reasons, knowing the type of personal protective equipment you wear in a laboratory is essential.
One must follow a few lab dress code do’s and don’ts to prevent any mishap. This article will cover some of the most crucial ones. It is a guideline for anybody who wishes to know about the basic dress code in a laboratory. Your clothing must cover your skin or most of it to protect you from spilled biological, radioactive, or chemical materials. It should offer protection from falling objects and other hazards that might occur in the laboratory.
Let’s look at some introductory lab dress code do’s and don’ts.
What is the standard laboratory dress code?
Some standard lab attire guidelines must be abided by when you are inside a laboratory. This is for your own safety.
- A work shirt that adequately covers the torso and arms
- You must wear clothing that covers most of the lower body— at least till the ankles. This could be a skirt, pants, or overalls and a lab coat. Ideally, the clothing you wear should not allow any part of your skin to be exposed.
- The shoes you wear must be closed-shoes to cover your entire foot. The material of the shoe should be leather or synthetic leather. Any other material that can protect your foot and resist penetration due to spillage is also helpful.
- If there is a fire danger present in the laboratory that can cause a potential fire hazard, ensure that you avoid clothing made of materials like synthetic fibers. Thus, avoid wearing anything that has nylon, acrylic, polyester, or polypropylene in it. Instead, go for less flammable natural fibers like cotton, jute, flax, wool, and silk.
Standard personal protective equipment for the laboratory
Firstly, you need a lab coat as per the lab attire guidelines. The coat should have long sleeves with ribbed cuffs. It can be a coat in the shape of a gown or overalls that covers most of the skin. The material used to make the laboratory coat must be flame-retardant. You might have to handle many corrosive chemicals inside the laboratory; if they touch the skin, they can cause much harm. Therefore, chemical-resistant aprons and sleeves are a crucial part of the lab dress code.
While protecting your body, do not forget about the most sensitive of them- the eyes. You must wear safety spectacles with side shields to protect against the touch of any chemical or fire. Harmful chemicals are used inside the laboratory that can cause eye damage. You need goggles for handling these chemicals. If the risk of injury is significant, use supplement goggles that come with a face shield.
What about your hands? The primary laboratory dress code includes a pair of gloves to protect your hands, which are routine for various lab activities. It is advised to use gloves specifically made to be resistant to chemicals or fire hazards. You also require hearing protection. If you cannot hear the other person even while standing at a distance of only 3 feet, the noise levels in the laboratory must be above safety levels. You should then consult with EHS for recommendations on hearing protection.
Lastly, the EHS might advise using a respirator, sometimes only as a filtering mask. Following the EHS guidelines can ensure you have the appropriate respirator for your tasks.
Lab attire guidelines
- Tie up long hair. Strands should not disturb the eyes as this can cause hazards during serious work.
- Wear shirts/tops covering most of the upper body, at least to the torso.
- Baseball caps and other headgear must be allowed, but they must not mess with the eyes during work.
- Wear such clothes on which you can easily wear the lab coat.
- Long pants covered till ankles
- Wear completely closed shoes that expose no thumb or fingers.
- No hair strands in the eye
- Neckties and scarves must not hang loose. They can catch fire very quickly.
- Caps should not be worn in such a way that it impedes vision
- The laboratory attire guidelines state that electronic gadgets that have to be used with earphones must not be allowed inside the laboratory building
- Do not wear spaghetti tops, crop tops, or ripped shirts
- Avoid wearing loose or flowy tops. Also, avoid tops with bell sleeves as those can interfere with the working on particular experiments
- Ripped jeans, shorts, and skirts can be a hazard
- Steer clear of open sandals, open back, Mary Janes, Crocs
Laboratory attire guidelines are important to abide by whenever you are inside the building or the lab. There are many important protocols that might seem not so crucial but can cause serious accidents in the lab. Being cautious and taking preventative measures is the best way to go about it. This keeps your work unhampered and you safe at all times. Starting from the headgear, the clothes, gloves, the shoes, and even the eyewear, you must abide by the lab dress code and treat it with utmost importance to avoid unnecessary hazards.
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