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Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is clothing or wearable equipment used to protect the wearer from coming into direct contact hazardous materials. Principal Investigators must provide researchers appropriate PPE for their work. 



Hand protection is available to protect against cut/punctures, abrasions, thermal burns, vibration, chemical exposures, and electrical shock. There is not a single glove that will protect from all hazards. Selection of gloves must be based on the hazards that are present, the job task, work conditions, and the duration of use. Gloves to be used to protect against the effects of chemical use should be selected based on each manufacturer’s glove selection charts. Do not assume that the protection offered by one manufacturers’ glove will apply to all types of similar gloves. The protection of each glove is based on the manufacturing processes and glove thickness.

Glove Chemical Resistance Guides

Glove chemical resistance guides to help you choose disposable gloves to wear during different processes:

Lab Coats

Lab coats provide a barrier that separate a researcher from a variety of hazards in the laboratory. 

Flame Resistant Lab Coats

Flame resistant lab coats are constructed of intrinsically flame resistant material. 

Flame resistant lab coats and gloves are required when pyrophoric chemicals are used outside a glovebox.

They are recommended for any work with open flame, flammable chemicals, or reactive materials.

Lab Coat Laundering

Laundering lab coats at home or in public laundry facilities is prohibited.

Laboratories have a few options with respect to addressing dirty lab coats:

  • Use disposable lab coats.
  • Dispose of lab coats when contaminated.
  • Use departmental laundering facilities, if available.  
  • Use the University of Maryland procurement agreement to set up a Cintas lab coat laundering service. See University of Maryland Lab Coat Program Brochure for more information.

Eye and Face Protection

Wearing appropriate eye protection is essential in laboratory settings. Chemical splashes, flying debris, or UV/laser light can all create serious injuries to the eyes and face of a researcher.  All protective eye and face protective devices must comply with ANSI Z87.1-2003, "American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection". Normal prescription glasses are not adequate to protect against chemical splashes or impacts. 

Safety Glasses

Safety glasses provide eye protection from moderate impact and particles associated with machining and minor chemical splashes. They should be tight fitting with side sheilds. 

Specially designed safety glasses are available for protection against laser light that may damage vision. A single pair of safety glasses is not available for protection from all types of laser light. The type of eye protection required is dependent on the spectral frequency or specific wavelength of the laser source.

Splash Goggles

Splash goggles provide a tight fitting seal to the face around the eyes. Splash goggles provide more protection against potential chemical splash hazards than safety glasses and should be used whenever splash potential exist.

Face Shield 

Face shields provide additional protection to the eyes and face when used in combination with safety glasses or splash goggles. Face shield use is recommended when significant splash hazards exist such as handling large volumes of chemicals and dispensing cryogens.  

Other PPE