From: Debbie M. Decker <dmdecker**At_Symbol_Here**UCDAVIS.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Lab Coats In Teaching Labs and Research Labs at Academic Institutions
Date: Tue, 5 May 2015 23:34:15 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: BY2PR08MB2987261D6EF9CD83FE8292AC8D10**At_Symbol_Here**

UCDavis (and I would imagine UCR, too, and most academic institutions) has required undergraduates to purchase safety goggles for decades – at least since the crust cooled and I was an undergrad here.


Requiring purchase of a lab coat is a relatively new requirement at Davis – going on 3 years – but it’s part of the course syllabus and communicated to the students before they register for classes.  Students are required to purchase all sorts of materials for all sorts of classes – not just laboratory classes.


Coats contaminated with hazardous materials are bagged and disposed as hazardous waste and the Department replaces the coat.  Dirty coats from regular wear are laundered at home – just as a student would launder their jeans or the shirt they wore in lab.  In an abundance of caution, we recommend they wash the coat separately in hot water, but we don’t offer laundry services to students.  With about 4,000 students per quarter in undergraduate chemistry, it’s not feasible.


OSHA requirements for the employer to provide PPE for employees do not apply to non-employees (students).  We do endeavor to apply similar safety requirements for all lab workers, regardless.


If the undergraduate student is an employee – in the dispensary or similar – the University provides them with a coat and laundry service.  Additionally, if the undergraduate is working in a research lab, they fill out volunteer paperwork and are covered under workers’ comp and subject to the training and PPE requirements of all lab workers.


Hope this helps,




From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU]On Behalf Of Daniel Brock
Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 2015 12:07 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Lab Coats In Teaching Labs and Research Labs at Academic Institutions


For those at the University of California, (Riverside, Davis, any others) do you really have undergraduates purchase their own lab coats and launder them themselves?


I went to UC Santa Cruz and we did not purchase our own coats, and the school had a coat service to clean them.


In industry you must provide PPE that is required for the job, it seems like that would apply to the students too, are they required to purchase their own safety glasses too?


Taking the lab coats home (or using the dorm) to launder them seems like a bad idea, one purpose of the coats is to protect the wearer from hazardous materials.  If it is taken home, hazardous materials from the lab could be carried home to expose the user and others to the hazards. 


I have worked places where we had to specifically tell people NOT to take coats home (because we had a service) when people were finding a coat that they thought was "special" and wanted to keep that same coat all the time.


Unless the chemistry lab has done a hazard analysis to determine "no chemical hazard" and the coats serve the same purpose as an apron for a chef, it seems like a risky way to do it.


Curious as to how this is actually implemented.





On Mon, May 4, 2015 at 3:15 PM, Russell Vernon <russell.vernon**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:

This is what UC Riverside does as well with the Central Storehouse in lieu of the “veterinary medicine central stores” at Davis


Russell Vernon, Ph.D.
Environmental Health & Safety
University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave
Riverside, CA 92521
Direct (951) 827-5119
Admin (951) 827-5528
Fax (951) 827-5122

Taking a trip overseas? 

Access Location Intelligence: and enter your UC Net ID


From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU]On Behalf Of Debbie M. Decker
Sent: Monday, May 04, 2015 2:05 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Lab Coats In Teaching Labs and Research Labs at Academic Institutions


Responses below.




Debbie M. Decker, CCHO, ACS Fellow

Chair, Division of Chemical Health and Safety

University of California, Davis





Birkett's hypothesis: "Any chemical reaction

that proceeds smoothly under normal conditions,

can proceed violently in the presence of an idiot."


From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU]On Behalf Of Kohler, Christopher E
Sent: Monday, May 04, 2015 12:01 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Lab Coats In Teaching Labs and Research Labs at Academic Institutions


Greetings all,


We are trying to get a handle on the current norm for providing lab coats (or aprons) in 1) teaching labs, and 2) in research labs at academic institutions.


Has anyone done any benchmarking or know of any recent articles?


Some of the questions we have include:


Do you require “lab coats” in academic chemistry teaching labs?


Yes – White cotton for students.  Light blue for TAs.  The light blue ones happen to be FR cotton, for a variety of reasons we can discuss off line.


Do you require “aprons” in academic teaching labs?


Recommended under some circumstances.


Do you require “lab coats” in research labs?




Do you require “fire resistant (FR) lab coats” in organic research labs?


Depending on circumstances – use of pyrophoric/water reactive materials, quantities of flammable solvents, use of open flame.


Do you rent them?




Do you purchase them?


Undergrads purchase through the bookstore.  Researchers purchase (with PI recharge) through on-campus veterinary medicine central stores.  They have a fit-set of coats, an inventory of coats for sale, and have the ability to barcode the coats for laundry and update the PI profile.  TA coats are provided by the department.


Do you have the vendor launder them?


Yes, for researcher coats.


Do you launder them yourselves?


Undergrads do.


Who pays for them?




Many thanks,




Christopher E. Kohler, MS, LPG, CCHO

Laboratory Safety Manager, EHS


Environmental Health and Safety

1514 E Third Street

Bloomington, IN 47405

(812) 855-5454




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