Protective clothing is a requirement whenever the body may be potentially exposed to chemicals, infectious agents, radioactive materials, harmful dusts, sharp objects or temperature extremes. Hazards and personal protective control measures should be identified and provided based on the hazards involved. Protective clothing may include lab coats, long pants, long sleeves, aprons, and footwear.
- Lab coats should be made of strong fabric and have snap closures to allow for quick removal if needed. Disposable lab coats should not be worn near any source of ignition, these are generally made of polypropylene which melts onto the skin if heated or burned. Lab coats should be fastened.
- Lab aprons should be fire-resistant, chemical-resistant and easily washed.
- Shoes should cover the entire foot. Sandals or open-toed shoes should not be worn.
- Safety shoes or boots may be required in labs with heavy equipment or materials.
- In clean-rooms or biohazard labs, additional protective clothing is required, including full-body suits, head/hair and shoe coverings.
- Laboratory clothing should not be stored with street clothing, and in some cases, should be decontaminated prior to laundering or subsequent use.