Eye protection used in the laboratory must meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Z87.1 specifications. The ANSI approval stamp can be found on the eyewear's lens or eyepiece.
Eye protection should be worn when using caustics, corrosives, irritants, flammables, explosives, UV light, lasers, radioactive materials, biohazardous materials, glassware under vacuum or pressure, or cryogenic materials.
Laboratory workers who wear corrective lenses should use prescription lens safety splash goggles, or splash-proof safety goggles that can be worn over corrective lenses.
Laboratory workers who must wear contact lenses for medical reasons should be especially careful to choose eye protection that fits snugly over the eyes and around the face.
A work area with a noise level of 85 decibels (dBA) or greater is considered a noise hazard. Under these conditions, ear protection should be worn. Noise reduction ratings (NRR) for hearing protection devices must be listed on its packaging.
Ear plugs and ear muffs provide sufficient protection against noise. Keep these devices clean and always wash hands before inserting ear plugs into ears. Cotton inserts are not adequate noise suppressors and should not be used.
Protective gloves should be worn when handling hazardous chemicals, sharp-edged objects, very hot or cold materials, or substances of unknown toxicity. When selecting and using protective gloves, laboratory workers should take precaution.
Protective gloves should be selected on the basis of the hazards involved.
It is important to wear gloves that are resistant to the material being used. In an accident, the wrong type of glove can be more hazardous than no gloves at all, keeping hazardous chemicals in prolonged contact with the hands.
Make sure gloves are in good condition and free from holes and tears before use. This becomes especially important when working with extremely corrosive material.
When removing gloves, keep the working surface of the glove away from hands and skin. The glove should be removed starting from the wrist and then pulled toward the fingers. Gloves that are contaminated with radioactive or biohazardous waste should be disposed of in appropriate waste containers. Wash hands as soon as possible after removing gloves.
Remove gloves before handling common objects such as pens, doorknobs, elevator buttons, etc.
Clothing and skin may be protected from chemicals by wearing a lab coat. The lab coat should always be properly fitted and is best if it is knee length. Different types of lab coats offer different types of protection.
Lab coats should be able to be removed easily in the event of an emergency.
Proper footwear provides protection from corrosives, heavy objects and electric shock. In the laboratory, shoes should completely cover the feet.
Certain types of shoes offer added protection.
Fabric shoes, such as tennis shoes, can absorb liquids. If hazardous chemicals are spilled on fabric shoes they should be removed immediately.
Sandals, open-toed shoes and high heels should not be worn in the laboratory.
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