V(b). Chemical Safety - Personal Protective Equipment


rev 11/2012

Protective equipment must be worn to guard against injury from routine or accidental events. Each faculty or supervising staff member is responsible for choosing appropriate protective equipment for his or her staff and students. The following guidelines will assist in selecting personal protective equipment.

In addition to protective equipment, there are requirements for footwear and clothing in Chapter V(a).

A. Eye Protection

In instructional laboratories using hazardous chemicals, goggles must be worn at all times. Student employees must also wear goggles when using hazardous chemicals. For research laboratories, each department and program will develop an eye protection policy. Faculty are responsible for assessing the hazards associated with their research, determining the appropriate eye protection within the requirements of the department or program policy, and communicating those requirements to their research students. In the case of shared labs, the faculty members should discuss appropriate eye protection to protect against all laboratory hazards.

Eye protection meeting ANSI Standard Z87.1, as summarized below, is the minimum level of eye protection required. Department policies for research laboratories are included in Appendix V(b)-A, B, C, and D.

Summary of ANSI Z87.1-89

Approved Protective Eyewear
1. Safety Spectacles, with side shields  4. Goggles, rigid body, cushion fit
2. Goggles, flexible fit, regular ventilation 5. Face Shield, plastic window
3. Goggles, flexible fit, hooded ventilation 6. Chipping Goggles, eyecup type


Hazards with Approved Eyewear Numbers (see above)
Impact: flying objects, fragments, particles  1,2,3,4,5,6
Heat: hot sparks 1,2,3,4,5,6
Heat: high temperature 5
Chemical: splash 3,4,5 (with 3 or 4)
Chemical: irritating mists 4
Dusts: airborne particles 3,4,6
IR/UV Radiation: welding, soldering, brazing, cutting Refer to ANSI Z87.1-89

B. Gloves

Decisions regarding the need to wear gloves and, secondly, the appropriate gloves are dependent on the hazard of the chemical, potential for contamination during the experiment and dexterity requirements. These decisions are made by individual faculty and supervising staff members.

Proper glove selection is a function of the specific chemical resistance of the material as measured by permeation rate and breakthrough time. Disposable latex gloves have limited resistance to many commonly used laboratory chemicals. They should not be used in operations where contamination is anticipated and must be removed immediately and the hands washed should they become contaminated.

More resistant gloves include natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, butyl, Viton, and polyvinyl chloride. Recommendation of the glove manufacturer and the Safety Data Sheet for the particular chemical should be used in choosing the appropriate gloves. Additional information can be found at:

Ansell Chemical Resistance Guide

C. Clothing

The purpose of protective clothing is to prevent contamination of the skin and to prevent the carrying of contaminants outside the laboratory. Street clothes may afford limited skin protection but may result in contaminants being carried outside the laboratory. 

Lab coats, or other protective clothing, must be worn when handling:

  • large quantities (greater than one liter) of Select Carcinogens (see Chapter V(i)), Reproductive Toxins (see Chapter V(j)), and Acute Toxins (see Chapter V(h)) which are readily absorbed through the skin as listed in Appendix V(b)-E
  • greater than one liter of concentrated (as supplied by the manufacturer) acids and bases1.
  • any quantity of pyrophoric material (fire resistant lab coats required)

Other specialized protective clothing may be necessary in certain high hazard operations (e.g., hydrofluoric acid).

D. Respiratory Protection

Respiratory protection is generally not required in the laboratory. Chemical handling should be done in the fume hoods whenever feasible. Should respiratory protection be required the Chemical Hygiene Officer will evaluate the operation.

1 Lab coat requirements do not apply to the use of stationary containers equipped with pumps when less than one liter is being dispensed.


A: Chemistry

B: Biology/Biochemistry

C: Neuroscience & Behavior

D: Geology

E: Hazardous Substances w/Skin Absorption