Labs coats are a matter of company policy and your chemical hygiene plan. There are circumstances where they may be needed, some when they are not and other where a lab coat will not do the job. You need to ask, what will be there purpose, eg; want to look good, everyone else is doing it, specific repellant to a splash hazard or bio hazard etc. NIOSH has a web site on recommendations for chemical clothing in labs, check it out at www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/protclothing.
Every situation in the lab is different and as you know costs can be overwhelminging if they are always required to wear coats, eg; even in a clean area writing a report. I think you need to identify what operations and functions will mandate a lab coat and which ones may not. Each chemical should be identified and a procedure for working with that chemical should be established that includes the proper PPE, eg; apparel permeation determination, etc. Utilize the NIOSH pocket guide to help with determinations.
I have attached the NIOSH web page, hope it come out if it does not it is the same link listed above. Good luck in your choice
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