Personal Protective Gear
When working in labs, you must always wear a lab coat to protect your clothes and skin. Lab coats can also be worn when moving between labs and common equipment areas. They should never be worn in offices, the lunchroom, administrative areas or bathroom facilities.
|Remember!! Disposable gloves are NOT protective gloves. At best they provide splash protection only - change immediately after suspected contamination!
Always use appropriate gloves to protect yourself from hazardous materials
- Are suitable for protecting your samples from contamination
- Often do not provide satisfactory protection against chemicals we use on a daily basis (in best case splash protection).
- If you choose disposable gloves for handling dangerous chemicals, wear a double layer. This can provide extra seconds of protection you need to remove the glove before a chemical penetrates through to your skin.
- ALWAYS remove disposable gloves IMMIDIATELY if you spill a hazardous chemical on to them, and wash your hands carefully with soap and water for several minutes.
- Consider using gloves with proven /documented chemical resistance (see Annex 3). Several producers now offer disposable gloves that are classified as PPE (personal protective equipment) and EN374 category 3 (see symbol). Contact the manufacturer for information on the specific chemical resistance testing data for the gloves you are using.
- When choosing protective gloves, contact the product manufacturer for information about the specific chemical resistances of their gloves; be sure that gloves provide satisfactory protection against the chemicals you are handling. See Annex 3 for information about resistance against common dangerous chemicals for several glove types and materials, from two manufacturers (Ansell and Sempermed).
- Some SDS’s also contain information about specific glove materials that have been tested against that particular chemical (e.g. Sigma Aldrich SDS’s).
- No single type of protective glove protects against all chemicals.
- No protective gloves are impermeable – it is just a matter of time.
- Many chemicals penetrate gloves without leaving any visible signs.
- Not all chemicals demonstrate “warning characteristics” when they come in contact with skin
Latex and vinyl gloves
- Latex gloves present a significant risk of irritation, allergic reaction, or sensitisation for susceptible individuals. All latex gloves can give off allergenic dust – remember that if you choose to use latex gloves, you are also exposing your colleagues to these risks. Never use powdered latex gloves.
- To minimise the risk of developing latex allergy, limit your use of latex gloves by alternating with gloves made of another material, such as nitrile.
- Vinyl gloves contain phthalates (endocrine disruptors) and should be avoided.
- Protective goggles must be worn during work that might cause splashing.
- Always wear goggles when handling chemicals that are corrosive or might cause eye damage (read the SDS’s). For example, bases (e.g. lye) can cause serious irreversible eye damage.
- Must be worn when handling liquid nitrogen or when using UV-light.
- During particularly risky work, full face shields or the fume hood must be used instead of goggles.