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Lab Manager

Purchasing Guide: Safety Equipment and PPE

Masks, face shields, safety goggles, lab coats, and gloves all limit your staff’s exposure to harmful agents

by Lab Manager
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Personal protective equipment (PPE) and other safety equipment can be found in almost any lab, as they are crucial for protecting workers from everyday hazards. Masks, face shields, safety goggles, lab coats, and gloves all limit your staff’s exposure to harmful agents. Other equipment such as chemical storage cabinets prevent fires or chemical reactions, while safety showers and eye wash stations are critical to mitigate harm to workers if an emergency occurs. For a list of safety equipment and PPE manufacturers, see our online directory:

8 Questions to Ask When Buying Safety Equipment or PPE:

  1. What equipment do you need based on the work you do in your lab?
  2. What equipment do you need to comply with regulations?
  3. How often will the equipment be serviced, inspected, or replaced?
  4. What are any specifics I must factor in (e.g., glove material types for specific chemicals like DCM)?
  5. Do you have PPE that properly fits each member in your lab?
  6. How will you keep track of and manage your PPE inventory?
  7. What items have expirations (e.g., calcium gluconate for HF exposure treatment)?
  8. What styles and sizes do we need to meet everyone’s diverse needs?

Choosing the Proper Lab Coat

Lab coats aren’t suited for all environments. Their materials must be in accordance with the safety standards specific to the hazards in each lab. Researchers working in labs with biological hazards, such as bloodborne pathogens, should use coats meeting ASTM F1670 and ASTM F1671 test standards. Liquid and chemical hazards demand compliance with AATCC Method 42 and ASTM F903 standards. Physical hazards like fire should meet NFPA 701 or 2112 standards for flame propagation.

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The Hazards of Poor-Fitting PPE

For PPE to be effective, it must be worn properly. Even compromises as simple as loose sleeves or improper footwear can increase the risk of injury. Learn more about the importance of wearing PPE that fits properly at: