Health & Safety Department

Personal Protective Equipment

Guidance information and publications produced by the Health and Safety Department which are relevant to the selection and use of personal protective equipment.

Chemical Laboratories

Laboratory hygiene

Following Code of Practice CS CoP001 Laboratory hygiene will minimise risk to laboratory users.

Good laboratory practice

The object of Code of Practice CS CoP002 Good laboratory practice is to provide a standard for good laboratory practice when working with chemicals rather than attempt to be specific regarding either substances or procedures.

Please also ensure you have read and understood all the Codes of Practice relating to chemical hazards.


General guidance

Personal protective equipment, other than mandatory eye protection, is always to be regarded as the last line of defence, and should only be required when the hazard cannot be controlled at source. It is important to note that PPE only protects the wearer; therefore whilst the wearer is protected colleagues working nearby could well be affected by the hazards of the work. It is always good practice to use forms of risk control that affords collective protection to all persons in the area e.g. work within a fume cupboard, glove box, or similar item of equipment whenever possible.

Good practice on wearing of laboratory coats and footwear is published below with more in depth guidance on hand, respiratory and eye protectionin the Code of Practice accompanying Part 5 of the University Policy and in the guidance links below.

Chemical contact

Great care must always be taken to ensure that hazardous chemicals never come into contact with any body surface; this is the key to the safe handling of chemicals. Wherever it is practicable to do so, a safe system of work should always be designed to completely eliminate bodily contact with any hazardous chemical substances. Where it is not possible to handle hazardous chemical substances in a fume cupboard, glove box, or similar environment, personal protective equipment should be used, but only after it has been positively assessed as being suitable protection against the particular hazard. Obvious instances where appropriate personal protection is required arise during the handling of corrosive acids and alkalis and toxic compounds and in the clearing up of chemical spills.

Laboratory coats

Aways wear laboratory coats of a type commensurate with the hazard (long sleeved coat, high necked Howie type coat, coverall, etc.) and always wear them properly fastened. The wearing of normal everyday clothing alone can never be justified in a laboratory and is indicative of sloppy practice and poor risk assessment. Laboratory coats not only offer a degree of personal protection against small spillages and splashes but also protect everyday clothing from contamination. Coats should be regularly laundered and kept in good repair; they must not be worn outside the laboratory, e.g. common rooms, canteens, libraries, computer labs, or similar and never in general or public areas.


Sensible footwear, commensurate with the spill/splash risk, should be worn in the laboratory. Shoes should be fully closed, open toed shoes or sandals are not recommended.

Workers in chemical stores facilities must be provided with similar protective footwear which should be worn at all times in the stores area or when moving heavy or unstable loads e.g. cylinders, boxes, crates, etc..

Further guidance on PPE

Hand protection

Guidance and advice on hand protection including the reduction of latex exposure and glove selection.

Respiratory protective equipment

University policy and guidance on the selection of respiratory protective equipment

Respirator facefit testing

Respiratory protective equipment and facefit testing.

Eye protection

Guidance on eye protection including how to order prescription safety spectacles.