Lab coats are available and worn

Corrective actions:

Make sure appropriate lab coats are available and are worn by all personnel working in the lab. If working with open flames or near high heat sources, purchase flame-resistant lab coats.

Lab coats should be worn when working with anything hazardous, including BSL-1 and BSL-2 materials. Review section 8 of the SDS to see the PPE requirements for your chemicals. If you find this too onerous, you could implement a rule that lab coats are always worn in the lab space. 

MSU risk assessments for laboratory work can be found:  

More information on PPE can be found in the MSU PPE manual (PDF).

Remove lab coats when leaving the lab. These garments should not leave the work site.

Launder reusable lab coats when visibly soiled or when a splash occurs. Laundry must be done by MSU’s laundry facility – Spartan Linen Services. For more information visit:

In Case of a Spill or Splash

Unless a lab coat is made of fluid-resistant material (i.e. Tyvek), it should not be assumed to be an effective fluid barrier. If a lab coat becomes contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious materials, it should be removed as soon as possible. Clothing and skin should be examined for possible contamination. If contamination has reached the skin, the affected area should be immediately washed and assessed for potential of BBP exposure. Contaminated lab coats should be placed in a biohazard bag and sent to the MSU designated laundry service.

Additional information:

Protective laboratory coats, gowns, or uniforms are recommended to prevent contamination of skin and personal clothing with chemical and biological splatter and spills. A laboratory coat is recommended for all work at BSL-1 and it or other suitable protective clothing is required when handling potentially infectious materials at BSL-2 or higher. Additional criteria for selecting clothing include: comfort, appearance, closure types and location, antistatic properties and durability.

Although, most laboratory coats are not designed to be fireproof or impermeable they represent a barrier to chemical and biological substances and retard exposure of skin and clothing to hazards.

When working with flammable chemicals, high heat, or air/water reactive chemicals, a 100% cotton or flame-resistant lab coat must be used. Lab coats containing polyester can combust in the presence of high heat or flame.

Disposable lab coats can be available for visitors, maintenance and service workers in the event it is required or when risk assessment determines it is the best option. In circumstances where it is anticipated that splashes may occur, the garment must be resistant to liquid penetration. If the garment is not disposable, it must be capable of withstanding sterilization, in the event it becomes contaminated. The garment should be flame resistant when working with or around open flames or high temperature heat sources.

Lab coats must be removed before exiting the laboratory for non-laboratory areas (e.g., cafeteria, library, administrative offices).

Protective clothing must be removed and left in the laboratory before leaving for non-laboratory areas.

Dispose of protective clothing appropriately, or deposit it for laundering by the institution. Laboratory clothing (reusable lab coats, scrubs, etc.) must not be taken home as it could result in the contamination of your family’s clothing.


  • BMBL 6th ed. No. HHS Publication No. (CDC) 300859
  • NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules. April 2019. Appendix G-II-B-2-f.
  • MSU Biosafety and Security Manual
  • MSU Bloodborne Exposure Control Plan
  • MSU Chemical Hygiene Plan 5.3.2.
  • OSHA Standard 1910.1450 App A