Personal Protective Equipment

Eye Protection

Appropriate eye protection shall be worn in the laboratory at all times. Eye and face protection must comply with the American National Standards Institute, ANSI Z87.1-1989 standard and provide adequate protection against the particular hazards for which they are designed. Examples of typical eye protection devices available include:

Impact Glasses - must be worn at all times when you are in the laboratory (unless a higher degree of protection is required). Impact glasses offer adequate protection against flying objects, large chips, particles of sand, dirt, etc. Impact glasses offer very limited protection when working with hazardous liquids or potentially dangerous light radiation.

Splash Goggles - must be worn when working with any quantity of hazardous liquids such as solvents, degreasers, poisons, carcinogens, acids, or bases. Any material that has the chance to splash into the users eye must not be handled without appropriate splash goggles.

Face Shields - must be worn when there is a higher degree of hazard from chemical splash or when handling large quantities of chemicals. Face shields are required when handling pathogenic blood or handling primates. Face shields do not offer adequate eye protection and must only be worn in addition to impact glasses or splash goggles.

Visit the OSHA website and conduct on-line training on the selection and use of appropriate eye protection. Eye and Face Protection eTool

Glove Selection

Appropriate hand protection must be worn when hands are exposed to hazards such as skin absorption of harmful substances, severe cuts, lacerations or abrasions, punctures, chemical or thermal burns, and harmful temperature extremes.

When selecting gloves it is important to understand that all gloves are permeable at different rates. Some chemicals will permeate or breakthrough a particular glove type within seconds while other chemicals may take hours to permeate the glove. One glove type does NOT offer universal protection. The typical laboratory will require several different types of gloves (i.e., nitrile, neoprene, PVA, vinyl, natural rubber, Silver Shield, etc.) to adequately protect against all of the chemicals in use. Therefore, each person is responsible for ensuring that the glove selected will adequately protect against the particular chemical being used. To assist each user in proper glove selection EHS has provided a number of resources, including Manufacturer Glove Selection Charts, below.

Vendor Sites

Honeywell Ansel MaPA North 

Manufacturer Glove Selection Charts:

Ansell Protective Products MAPA Professional North 

Latex Alert - Natural Rubber or Latex gloves DO NOT offer adequate protection against most hazardous materials and should only be used if recommended by a manufacturer for a particular chemical. When recommended for particular chemicals by a manufacturer, Brown University does use Latex Gloves. Repeated exposure to Latex and latex products may result in the development of latex allergies.

Symptoms of Latex Allergies - If you or your family experience allergic reaction symptoms, you should contact your health care provider and report the symptoms to the Office of Environmental Health & Safety at 863-3353. Symptoms of latex allergies may include:

  • Dry, irritated skin
  • Oozing skin blisters
  • Itchy eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Coughing/ Wheezing
  • Asthma
  • Life Threatening Shock
  • Hives

Laboratory Coats

Laboratory Coats serve as a protective barrier, can shield against chemical or biological splashes or spills, offer protection from radiation, fire or other physical hazards and guard street clothes from stains or damage. Lab coats can be made from cotton or a cotton/ synthetic fiber blend and they can also be flame resistant. Lab coats should be worn fully closed with the sleeves rolled down. In case of an accident, it is much faster and easier to remove a lab coat than actual clothing to minimize skin contact.
Lab coats should be chosen based on the types of hazards that will be handled. To reduce the risk of contamination in public places, lab coats should not be worn outside of the laboratory.

More Laboratory Coat Information