Gloves and Lab Coats

To Wear or Not To Wear?

A very important question for your safety!

Why Wearing Gloves is Important

It is important to wear gloves when working with hazardous chemicals and other materials because they protect our hands from infection and contamination. Protective gloves should be selected on the basis of the hazards involved.

  • Nitrile gloves protect against most chemicals and infectious agents.
  • Rubber gloves protect against mild corrosive material.
  • Neoprene gloves protect against most solvents, oils, and mild corrosive materials.
  • Avoid latex gloves as many people are allergic or develop allergies to this material.

For glove selection guidance try:

When to Wear Gloves

Wear gloves when your hands may come into contact with:

  • infectious materials
  • radioactive materials
  • chemicals

When NOT to Wear Gloves

  • Don't wear gloves when touching common surfaces, such as telephones, computers, door knobs, and elevator buttons, or that may be touched without gloves by others.
  • Don't wear gloves outside of the lab. When transporting hazardous materials between labs, use secondary containers that can be carried without gloves. (Bring gloves and spill materials in case of an accident.)

Why Should We Wear Lab Coats?

  • Lab coats are personal protective equipment and should be worn in the lab when working with chemicals and biologicals to protect the skin and clothing from splatter and spills.
  • Appropriate lab coats should be fully buttoned with sleeves rolled down. They should also be fire-resistant.
  • In case of an accident, it is much faster and easier to remove a lab coat than street clothes to minimize skin contact with hazardous materials.

When to Wear Lab Coats

  • Always wear lab coats when working with hazardous materials.

When NOT to Wear Lab Coats

  • Don't wear lab coats in public places, such as offices, lunch rooms, lounge areas, or elsewhere outside the laboratory, as they can transfer hazardous materials and contaminate these areas.
  • Don't bring lab coats home because you may contaminate others in the household.
  • Don't launder lab coats at home or with other clothing.

Questions on glove, lab coat or other safe practices? Contact EH&S at (631) 632-6410.

Download the printable brochure for Gloves and Lab Coats

Want a "To Wear or Not to Wear" poster for your Stony Brook Lab? E-mail with your name and SBU Zip.

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