UC Policy on Laboratory Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

In April 2014, UC instituted a new policy on the use of PPE in laboratories. The policy is intended to help protect lab workers from injury, meet Cal-OSHA requirements and bring more consistency to UC PPE practices. All members of the lab community have responsibilities under the policy - particularly lab supervisors/faculty and lab workers. Full policy can be found here.

The most important aspects of the policy are when and where individuals must wear long pants, closed-toe shoes, safety eyewear and a lab coat. This is summarized on a poster which is mounted at the main door to all labs – see pg. 7. Other aspects:

  • Exemptions from wearing PPE (policy requires written exemption from EH&S)
    • hazardous materials/processes-free areas
    • areas protected by adequate distance (some desk locations are problematic)
    • lab areas/desks protected by adequate physical shielding
  • Supervisors shall perform a written assessment of the workplace to determine what PPE is needed – OSHA requirement. This is done via use the online UC Laboratory Hazard Assessment Tool ("LHAT" ). See pg. II-8.
  • Supervisor assures workers are trained on when PPE is needed and how to wear, adjust & maintain. Per pg. II-8, use the LHAT to receive the necessary documented training for basic lab coat and safety eyewear use.
  • Laboratory coats shall not be laundered at private residences, or public laundry facilities. In May 2014, a free lab coat laundering program began – see pg. II-8.
  • Safety eyewear must meet American National Standards Institute standards and be appropriate for the work. Typical prescription spectacles do not meet these standards (are not shatter-proof polycarbonate) unless specifically provided by an eye care professional. Safety goggles that readily fit over glasses are free – see pg. II-8.
  • Teaching courses which include lab/shop/field work are required to indicate PPE requirements in the course syllabus. The PPE requirements for teaching labs are the same as for research per above, excluding use of the LHAT. The instructor of record for the course, or designee, is responsible for ensuring that students are familiar with and properly use PPE. The student is responsible for obtaining the PPE, excluding any PPE that might be provided by the sponsoring department.