Personal Protective Equipment


-For information about face masks, please go here: Personal Protection and Hygiene

-If you have questions about PPE or need recommendations, please contact the Safety Office.

-If you need a card to access the lab coat vending machines, or a quick tutorial on how to use the machines, contact John Herrington, Walter Williams, or Carol Barnes.


The Ohio State University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is committed to providing a healthy and safe working environment for all of its members. This Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) policy is designed to prevent workplace injuries and to establish a consistent laboratory protective clothing policy. The policy applies to all members of the department, including all divisional faculty, staff, students and visitors.

Personal Protective Equipment Policy

This policy sets minimum departmental requirements.  Each laboratory/classroom/shop, however, may develop policies and procedures which meet or exceed this policy standard. Laboratory coats and protective eyewear are required to be worn by all employees working with hazardous materials. In addition, laboratory personnel occupying the adjacent area, who have the potential to be exposed to chemical splashes or other hazards are required to wear laboratory coats and protective eyewear. A student not wearing the required PPE in a laboratory/technical area may not participate in lab activities until such PPE is worn. Failure/refusal to wear required PPE is a basis for discipline (see “Enforcement” below). The Laboratory Supervisor will be responsible (with technical assistance from the Chemical Hygiene Officer) for selecting personal protective equipment, acquiring approved equipment, maintaining availability, and establishing equipment cleaning and disposal procedures as defined in appropriate standard operating procedures (SOPs). Exemptions to this policy (for example, those performing laser alignments) will be considered by the Safety Committee following submission of a formal petition for exemption. The petition must explain the need for an exemption in writing and be approved by the Safety Committee and Chair to be approved. Laboratory workers should be advised on the proper selection, use and limitations of personal protective equipment before they are required to use the equipment.  Personal protective equipment, excluding safety glasses and lab coats, should be removed before leaving work areas. All PPE must be removed before leaving the Department/building.

Laboratory PPE and Eyewear Requirements

  1. Laboratory personnel must, at a minimum, wear lab coats and safety glasses while in a lab where chemicals are handled. Lab coats and safety glasses are not required when sitting at a desk in the lab, provided that the desk is isolated from the source of potential hazards. Additional protective equipment may be required depending on hazards in the lab.
  2. Shorts and sandals may not be worn into the lab even under a lab coat.
  3. Chemical resistant gloves shall be worn whenever the potential for hazardous skin contact exists. The safety data sheet for the substance or glove selection charts should be referenced (see or Standard operating procedures should specify glove requirements, if any. Contaminated gloves shall be removed before touching surfaces outside the work area (i.e., doorknobs, faucet handles). Before each use, gloves are to be inspected for damage and contamination, i.e., tears, punctures, discoloration. If deficiencies are noted, the gloves should be cleaned, repaired, or replaced before use.
  4. The department will provide lab coats and lab coat laundering services at no cost to all employees who work in the lab. Laboratory coats shall not be laundered at private residences or at public laundry facilities. Protective coats worn in the laboratory must adhere to the following requirements:

-Lab coats must be in good condition and reasonably clean.

-Lab coats shall cover the wearer to near the knees.

-Lab coats made of polyester-cotton blends (no less than 35% cotton) are acceptable in labs where no open flames are present.

-Lab coats must be made of flame resistant (FR) material in labs where open flames are used or when pyrophoric materials are handled. Persons working with pyrophoric liquids also should wear 100% cotton clothing underneath the FR lab coat on days that they handle these materials in the lab. The FR will be provided by the Department Safety Office, as needed.

5. All protective eyewear must meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z-87 standards and be appropriate for the work being done. Typical prescription spectacles are not suitable eye protection.


The Safety Committee, composed of faculty, staff, and students from the student-led Joint Safety Team (JST), has raised concerns regarding the low compliance of appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) in our research labs. Minimum required PPE is composed of closed-toed shoes, long pants/skirts to the ankles, safety eye glasses, and lab coats. This level of protection is generally the standard practice in industry, encompassing chemical industry (synthesis and experimental measurements) and biochemical/biological labs. Instructions on how to obtain prescription safety glasses free of cost can be found HERE.

Faculty/Staff violation warning system

A violation herein refers to anyone found in the labs that the faculty/staff (PI) supervises or is responsible for:

First Violation: Warning.

Second Violation: The same or another researcher in the labs supervised by the PI receives a warning. The PI will meet with the Safety Committee to explain safety measures and culture in the lab.

Third Violation: The PI will meet with the department chair and it will be noted in their annual evaluation.

Fourth Violation: This illustrates the faculty member’s unwillingness to conduct research in a safe manner. A second conversation will occur with the chair and a letter indicating this unwillingness will be placed in his/her HR file.

Research/lab worker violation warning system

First Violation: The student/researcher and the PI will be notified of the first warning. The PI is expected to discuss with the student/researcher the need for PPE and highlight the culture of safety in the research lab. Documentation of the meeting will be sought using DocuSign signed by the PI and researcher.

Second Violation: The student or researcher will need to meet with Safety Committee to explain repeated lack of PPE.

Third Violation: The student will receive a "U" for research in the research course for that term, such as CHEM 8999, and equivalent for undergraduates and graduate students in other program. The researcher will meet with the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies (for Chemistry graduate students) or with the Vice Chair of Administration (for others). For graduate students in other programs, the respective program director will be notified. Non-student researchers (postdocs, visitors, staff, and PIs) will meet with department chair and action may be taken.

Fourth Violation: This demonstrates the student’s or researcher’s inability to conduct research in any laboratory in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Student will received a second “U”. Individual will not be permitted to work in a research lab.

Shared spaces: There are some spaces that have both desks and lab benches. The action and rules in these spaces will be as follows.

In shared areas, a physical will be used to separate “zones” for PPE: PPE (PPE required) and non-PPE (PPE not required)

-Plexiglas shield where desks are attached to benches and blue tape on the floor

-Other shared areas: blue tape on floor

In shared areas, PPE not required when moving from one zone to another, however, if a person stops in the middle the PPE zone, it could be considered a violation (for example, it is fine to walk from a door to desk without PPE, but not to stop and chat in PPE zone).

In primarily research spaces, full PPE is required and food/drink prohibited. In desk zones, PPE is not required, but food/drink is prohibited.