Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the Laboratory

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Personal protective equipment (PPE) is barrier protection and includes clothes and work accessories to protect employees from potential workplace hazards. Personal protection starts with personal clothing choices for example; short skirts, short pants, open toe shoes, loose clothing or long hair are not recommended in the laboratory setting due to the possible exposure to hazards such as chemicals, burns, sharp objects, hot materials, falling objects and other threats.

Torso Protection

Lab coats protect a person’s clothing and exposed skin (such as on arms) from contaminants, objects and hazardous chemicals. Lab coats should be buttoned closed for best protection. There are many legitimate reasons to wear a laboratory coat. Read our 7 Reasons Why You Should Wear a Lab Coat in the Laboratory Here >>>

Hand Protection

Gloves protect the person’s hands during handling and working with different hazards such as chemicals. The three most popular glove materials on the market today are nitrile, latex, and vinyl. We have seen the popularisation of the nitrile glove in recent years but what’s the difference? And what type should you be using? View our article Nitrile Vs Latex Vs Vinyl Gloves Here >>> to assist you with your decision.

Eye and Face Protection

If working with materials that can be harmful to eyes and face, protection will be very important.  There are various types of glasses and goggles to protect the lab workers from the different types of hazards. Safety glasses and goggles provide protection against potential impact whilst goggles and face shields provide the best protection against chemical splashback. Head shields in addition to safety glasses or goggles protect the person from any potential explosion. It should be noted that regular safety glasses cannot block UV rays and lasers and special safety glasses must be worn while working with UV rays and laser.

Inhalation Protection

A gas mask should be worn when working and handling poisonous gas outside the fume hood. The cartridge “type” should be considered when choosing the appropriate gas mask. For example, the organic vapor filtering cartridge will not protect the person from carbon monoxide. Experiments that can potentially expose poisonous gas must be carried out inside a fume hood that either vents outside or contains appropriate filters to neutralise the specific gas.

Hearing and Head Protection

In some laboratories, such as industrial and physical testing laboratories earplugs are required to protect your hearing in noisy conditions. A helmet is needed when working in an environment with overhead dangers. Stay alert of PPE signage and ensure you comply with company requirements at all times to assist with the reduction of workplace incidents and elimination of potential bodily harm.

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