Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in Laboratories


The UW is a major research and teaching institution, and safety in our laboratories is very important to all of us. If you work in a lab, you can protect yourself and others from exposure to hazardous materials through the use of chemical fume hoods; safe work practices and training; and appropriate laboratory attire and personal protective equipment (PPE).

We recommend that all personnel wear lab coats, eye protection, and proper gloves when working in a lab. Appropriate PPE is required when there is a potential for exposure to hazardous materials such as hazardous chemicals and biohazards. Proper PPE and laboratory attire help minimize the potential for skin exposure to hazardous chemicals, biological agents, and other hazardous materials. Make sure your legs are covered and that you wear closed shoes. Additional PPE such as face masks or respirators may be needed for specialized tasks.

Because this is so important, you can expect to see EH&S employees wearing PPE when we visit laboratories. Look for our new EH&S lab coats the next time we visit your lab.

The EH&S website has more information on how to select the appropriate PPE for your research activities. We developed the Laboratory PPE Assessment Guide to help you select and document the appropriate PPE for various activities and hazardous materials. You can also use this guide to train lab personnel. This will help all of us ensure safety in our laboratories and also meet regulatory requirements. When PPE is required, we all have a responsibility to ensure it is worn and used properly.

For assistance with selecting or using PPE, contact an EH&S Occupational Health and Safety Specialist at 206.543.7388 or