Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is used to protect personnel from contact with recombinant and biohazardous materials. Appropriate clothing may also protect the experiment from contamination. PPE must be provided without cost to personnel. Remove all PPE prior to exiting the laboratory.

The following PPE is recommended for regular use.

Laboratory Clothing

Laboratory clothing includes: laboratory coats, smocks, scrub suits and gowns. Long sleeved garments should be used to minimize the contamination of skin or street clothes. In circumstances where it is anticipated that splashes may occur, the garment must be resistant to liquid penetration to protect skin from contamination. If the garment is not disposable, it must be capable of withstanding sterilization in the event it becomes contaminated.

Additional criteria for selecting clothing are: comfort, appearance, closure types and location, antistatic properties and durability. Protective clothing must be removed and left in the laboratory before leaving for non-laboratory areas.

Disposables must be available for visitors and maintenance and service workers entering the lab if they are required.

All protective clothing must be either discarded in the laboratory or laundered by the facility. Personnel must not launder laboratory clothing at home.


Gloves must be selected based on the hazards involved and the activity to be conducted. Gloves must be worn when working with recombinant and biohazardous material.

When working with hazardous materials, the lower sleeve and the cuff of the laboratory garment must be overlapped by the glove. A long sleeved glove or disposable arm shield may be worn for further protection.

Double gloving may be appropriate or required. However, if a medical condition dictates that only a single pair is worn, that can be acceptable. If a spill occurs, hands will be protected after the contaminated outer gloves are removed.

Gloves must be disposed as biohazardous waste when contaminated or removed when work with recombinant and/or biohazardous materials is completed. Gloves must not be worn outside the laboratory. Gloves must not be worn when handling non-infectious material, equipment or instrumentation. Remove gloves in a manner that does not contaminate your hands. Disposable gloves must not be washed or reused. Always wash hands after removing gloves.

Face Protection

Goggles or safety glasses with solid side shields in combination with masks or chin length face shields, or other splatter guards, are required for anticipated splashes, sprays or splatters of recombinant and/or biohazardous materials.

Application or removal of contact lenses is not permitted in the laboratory setting. Persons who wear contacts must wear eye protection when in areas with potentially aerosolizable agents.


Closed toed, closed heeled, liquid proof shoes are required when working in the laboratory.  Protective footwear such as shoe covers may be necessary to minimize contamination of the laboratory and prevent the accidental release of recombinant and biohazardous materials from a laboratory. If disposable shoe covers are used in the laboratory, waste containers must be available to dispose of used shoe covers.  Shoe covers must not be reused.


Additional respiratory protection may be required. Respirator selection is based on the hazard and the protection factor required. Respirators must be carefully fitted to the individual and fit tested before use. Personnel who require respiratory protection must contact Occupational Health for fit testing, training, and assistance in selection of equipment.

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