- In the hierarchy of exposure prevention and control, the primary methods for protecting researchers in a laboratory against chemical, biological, radiological, physical, and mechanical hazards are elimination, engineering, and administrative controls. Where these control methods are not appropriate or sufficient to control the hazard, personal protective equipment (PPE) is required. PPE is also required in conjunction with other controls to mitigate the impact should an incident occur.
A. Minimum PPE requirements for entering research labs at JSNN
For a “no touch visit” to the areas where chemical, biological, radiological, or mechanical hazards are present, eye protection and lab coat shall be provided.
2. Researchers, volunteers, and partners
Researchers (faculty, staff, and students), interns, volunteers, and partners entering the areas where chemical, biological, radiological, or mechanical hazards are present must wear a lab coat, protective eyewear, long pants and closed-toe shoes as the minimum PPE for entering the lab. This clothing shall be supplemented, as necessary, with the appropriate gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary for the tasks to be performed.
B. PPE selection based on the hazard assessment
OSHA 1910.132 PPE standard requires a documented hazard assessment for identifying required PPE for each task performed in the work environment. This includes any experiments using chemical or biological materials or equipment such as an autoclave. This assessment needs to be documented under the lab Safety Plan (Chemical Hygiene Plan).
Through completion of the annual lab safety training modules, review of the Safety Plan, and lab-specific PPE training provided by PI, all researchers must be trained on proper selection, use, maintenance, and limitations of their PPE.
D. Major Types of PPE
1. Body protectio
I. Lab coat
A lab coat is the minimum requirement for body protection in research labs. While polycotton blend lab coats are acceptable for basic chemical and biological research, fire-rated lab coats such as Nomex or other rated flame resistant fabrics will be necessary when working with open flames, pyrophorics, or using large volumes of highly flammable chemicals
II. Chemical resistant Aprons and Sleeves
When transferring large volumes of chemicals, such as making an acid bath, or when using highly hazardous chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid, chemical protective aprons and sleeves will be required. JSNN provides lab coats to all researchers through a third-party contractor.
2. Eye and face protection
I. Safety glasses
Safety glasses are used for basic daily research activities. However, they do not provide protection against splashes. Safety goggles must be used when there is a risk of injurious chemical splash into the eyes. ROEHS offers a variety of safety glasses and goggles for researchers to select from. Safety glasses must meet the ANSI Z87.1 requirements. Contact ROEHS for laser, UV, and IR radiation protective safety glass selection.
II. safety Goggles
Safety google must be used for protecting eyes against chemical splashes.
III. Face Shields
Face shields must be used in conjunction with safety glasses or safety goggles for face and eye protection. Examples include dispensing cryogenic liquids, preparing corrosive baths, or pouring large volumes of hazardous chemicals. Face shields alone do not provide adequate splash protection for eyes.
3. Hand protection
I. Disposable nitrile gloves
Disposable nitrile gloves provide limited protection against chemicals and are the minimum hand protection requirement in research laboratories. Disposable gloves shall be removed immediately after contact with chemicals. Users then need to wash hands before replacing disposable gloves. Using double (a second pair of gloves atop the first) nitrile gloves or wearing Silver Shield gloves under disposable nitrile gloves may be necessary where hazard/risk assessment indicates the need for additional hand protection.
II. Heavy duty or chemical protective gloves
Heavy duty or chemical protective gloves provide longer protection and can be reused as long as they are washed and air dried after each use. Inspect reusable chemical protective gloves before each use. Certain chemicals pose a skin absorption risk and require additional attention for glove selection Protective gloves provide limited protection based on the exposure duration and chemical concentration. Users must consult the glove manufacturer’s compatibility/selection chart to ensure that the selected glove provides the intended protection. Examples include:
- Avoid using latex gloves. Latex gloves provide poor protection against chemicals and can cause severe allergic reactions in some individuals. For more information, see Latex Allergies | NIOSH
- Heat and cold protection need to be properly selected for non-chemical lab hazards Examples include:
i) Excess heat. Use properly selected, insulated gloves
iii) cut and abrasions: cut-resistance gloves
Before selecting and using a hearing protection device, a noise survey must be performed to assess the sound pressure levels and personal exposure. Contact ROEHS if you use a device or work in an environment with high noise levels.
5. Respiratory protection
Similar to hearing protection, using respiratory protection requires ROEHS pre-assessment and approval. This includes using disposable N95 respirators. Please refer to the JSNN Respiratory Protection Program for more information.
6. Other PPE requirements
Activities outside the standard lab work such as working with lasers, farm work, or maintenance activities will require additional or different PPE assessments. The table below shows examples of the minimum PPE requirement for basic lab activities.
Disposable nitrile gloves
Chemical protective sleeves
Cut resistant gloves
Heat resistant gloves