Crucial to laboratory safety is to choose a suitable PPE kit, which can considerably reduce exposure to hazards. Selecting this section has the purpose of providing resources that will enable researchers to classify and identify different types of a PPE kit so that companies can take the appropriate safety precautions when conducting research. PPE classification falls into hearing protection, respiratory protection, body protection, hand protection, and face and eye protection.
Part of the laboratory personnel’s task is to consult EH&S to ask for noise monitoring in their laboratory environment to perform noise monitoring. They can also advise on a particular use of hearing protectors. When laboratory workers’ average noise exposure exceeds the 85 dBA Action Level due to the eight-hour time-weighted, such workers will need to enroll in the UC Merced Hearing Conservation Program. Such people will go through training on the care, use, and fitting of their devices, have hearing protectors made available to them by their supervisors, and receive annual audiometric testing.
- Hearing band: workers can wear these earplugs connected to a flexible band around the neck when not required. The band is proper when workers are engaged in areas where sound levels average more than 85 dBa; EH&S can assist in assessments.
- Reusable earplugs: lightweight, corded or uncorded, reusable (needs cleaning), tapered fit, silicone, and more durable than disposable earplugs. Workers will find these earplugs helpful when working in areas with more than 85 dBa; EH&S sound levels and can assist in assessments.
- Disposable earplugs: low cost, lightweight, one-size-fits-all, one-time design (no cleaning), polyurethane foam, polyvinyl chloride, and blocks all sound. The earplugs are helpful when workers are engaged in areas with more than 85 dBa; EH&S sound levels can help in assessments.
All wet labs require lab coats. Good enough is cotton or poly for labs without fire risk. Essential are Nomex coats for work with flammable, pyrophoric liquids in quantities of more than four liters. The coats are also necessary when working entails flammable liquids and an ignition source, including a burner. Workers must also wear barrier coats when working with infectious materials. They can also autoclave barrier coats by putting the coats in the pan and having a different pan of water in the autoclave.
- The barrier is predominantly polyester and provides splash protection, and it is not flame resistant. It helps work with infectious materials.
- Flame resistant, such as Nomex and another flame-resistant cotton can resist ignition. Its uses include working with potentially explosive chemicals, a large volume of organic solvents, and air or water-reactive chemicals.
- The polyester blend of traditional cotton can protect clothing and skin from inks, dirt, and non-hazardous chemicals. Part of its uses is a general use, including physical, radiation, biological, and chemical hazards.
Crucial to protecting hands is the appropriate selection of gloves. A PPE kit like chemically protective gloves are an essential tool to minimize dermal exposures to chemicals in research laboratories. Experts should use gloves under the specific conditions they are designed for because no glove is impervious to all chemicals. People must also remember that gloves can degrade over time. Therefore, they must replace them as necessary to ensure adequate protection.