To tag off what Sheila posted, this is what's in the "Green Sheet" of safety rules students agree to adhere to in teaching labs. We enforce these rules very strictly and send kids home who are not properly attired.
1. Clothing that completely covers the legs - including the skin between the top of the shoe and the bottom of the pant leg - must be worn at all times in the laboratory -(tights or leggings are NOT suitable leg covering). Inadequate protection often leads to injury. Avoid wearing expensive clothing to lab as it may get damaged.
At the beginning of the quarter, leggings are discussed as not proper leg covering and as Patrick points out, can wick a chemical spill quickly onto the skin.
I don't buy the "discriminatory" argument (and I've heard it before from my staff) since all sorts of people wear leggings, or bike "skins," or rock climbing gear, etc.
Debbie M. Decker, CCHO, ACS Fellow
Past Chair, Division of Chemical Health and Safety
Councilor and Programming Co-Chair
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."
Our LABORATORY REGULATIONS require: APPROPRIATE CLOTHING: Lab Coats, Long Pants and Closed Shoes are required. Choose sturdy shoes that cover the whole foot and protect from spills and broken glass. Wear a knee-length, long sleeve lab coat closed to protect skin & clothing. Coat sleeves must cover arms & shirts. Wear long pants (or equivalent) to protect from spills & splash. Avoid loose or synthetic clothing; remove loose jewelry; secure hair and clothing away from flames, equipment, and chemical contamination.
In our FAQs page: Skinny jeans are not recommended for lab work because a splash that is absorbed into the fabric will reach your skin faster than it would with looser pants. We recommend pants with some space between you and the fabric (such as your cotton sweatpants). In an emergency, you'll have more time to react.
In my Clothing for CHEM Lab email I send to all students (definitely falls into "interpretation"):
LONG PANTS (or their equivalent) are required to protect the legs and ankles from splash contamination.
¥ Leggings are not pants and are NOT PERMITTED. Tight pants (skinny jeans) do not provide protection and may be interpreted as "leggings" for the purposes of this rule.
¥ Make sure you have at least one pair of pants that covers your ankles and provides substantial air space between the fabric and your skin - especially below the knee.
¥ Other questions about what is "equivalent" should be referred to the Safety Coordinator (me).
Sheila M. Kennedy, C.H.O.
Safety Coordinator | Teaching Laboratories
Chemistry & Biochemistry |University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr. | La Jolla, CA 92093-0303
(858) 534 - 0221 | MC 0303 | YORK HALL 3150
Do you permit your students to wear leggings/jeggings in your academic chemistry labs?
If not, have you included a section on this in your safety rules?
Would you be willing to share the wording in your safety rules with me?
I chair the departmental safety committee and I plan to include this topic as an agenda item for the February meeting.
As always, thank you for your assistance.
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