PPE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

If it has been more than 3 weeks and you cannot find your lab coat(s), please email ehs-ppe@uci.edu and include the following information: your PI’s full name, type of coat(s) missing and the 6-digit ID (UC-XXXXXX or UCI-XXXXXX) for each coat, your assigned laundry location, and date of lab coat drop off.

No. You are required to complete the LHAT requirements before obtaining PPE, and you are required to have PPE prior to working in the lab.

Before requesting PPE, please make sure you are on the lab’s roster, review and acknowledge the lab’s Hazard Assessment, and complete the PPE Safety Training.

No. EH&S recycles/reuses lab coats to increase sustainability of the Lab PPE Program, therefore please do not alter (this includes the addition of patches and/or custom embroidery) EH&S-issued lab coats. Recycled lab coats are also used to support undergraduates and visiting researchers.

Email ehs-ppe@uci.edu to inform the Laboratory PPE Coordinator that your selected PPE does not fit.

If you are working in multiple labs on campus (with different PIs or buildings located in different areas of campus), you are able to request a set of PPE for each lab. Make sure you have completed the LHAT requirements for each lab before requesting the additional set of PPE.

Each lab member is issued at least 2 coats. The extra coat is provided for you to wear while the other is being laundered. Please do not have all your coats laundered at the same time or you will not have the necessary PPE to work in the lab!

The Cal OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard (Title 8 CCR 5193) requires employees who work with human blood, certain body fluids and human tissues and cells to wear PPE that does not permit the fluids to get to the person’s skin or personal clothing. The material in the Barrier lab coat meets this requirement. When using the Barrier lab coat, make sure the elastic cuff on the sleeve is not exposed but is under the cuff of your gloves.

A flame resistant (FR) lab coat has the same level of protection that the traditional lab coat has in addition to being flame resistant. Traditional lab coats are given when it is the only type of lab coat listed on the PPE Voucher and the Hazard Assessment indicates you do not work with flammable materials in the lab.

If you work with large volumes of flammable liquids and an FR lab coat is not indicated on your PPE voucher, the Principal Investigator (PI) should login into the LHAT and amend their Hazard Assessment to include the task of working with large volumes of flammable liquids. This ensures lab members are provided with the correct types of lab coats.

No. The FR lab coats provided to you are made of a material produced from DuPont called Nomex IIIA. This is a para-aramid synthetic fiber that by its very structure is flame resistant. It does not need any additional treatments.

If you are switching to another lab, take your lab coats and safety eyewear with you to your new lab. PPE (lab coats, safety glasses and splash goggles) are issued to you and not the lab.

  • Ask your new Principal Investigator (PI) or Lab Manager to add you to the lab’s LHAT roster
  • Review/acknowledge the lab’s Hazard Assessment after being added to the roster
  • Email ehs-ppe@uci.edu to inform of your new lab location; provide your PI’s full name
    • The Laboratory PPE Coordinator will respond in 5-7 days with additional questions to determine whether you have the necessary lab coats for your new lab, whether your assigned laundry location should be changed, and provide further instructions
No. EH&S has setup a lab coat recycling/reuse program to increase sustainability of the Lab PPE Program and minimize the number of new coats needing to be purchased.

Laundry and Maintenance

If it has been more than 3 weeks and you cannot find your lab coat(s), please email ehs-ppe@uci.edu and include the following information: your PI’s full name, type of coat(s) missing and the 6-digit ID (UC-XXXXXX or UCI-XXXXXX) for each coat, your assigned laundry location, and date of lab coat drop off

To replace damaged PPE, complete and submit the Virtual PPE Fitting Form and select “To obtain replacement PPE (for damaged/lost PPE)” as your reason for the PPE request.

After lab coats are picked up from each campus laundry location, they are placed in the Mission Linen truck by lab coat type/color. At the Mission Linen facility, lab coats are unloaded from the truck at the soil dock, separated by lab coat type/color, and placed in slings for healthcare linens.

Lab coats are washed in a healthcare wash cycle and placed in dryers. Coats are placed on hangers and sent through a steam tunnel. Coats are then delivered back out to UCI. Barrier gowns, gloves and masks are work by staff during the laundering process; Gloves and masks are worn during pick-up and delivery of lab coats on campus.

It typically takes 2-3 weeks from the time of pick-up for lab coats to be laundered and returned.

Drop off dirty lab coats in the tall metal bin at your assigned laundry location. Clean coats will be returned to the lab coat rack at the assigned laundry location.

Please refer to the Laundry Services Handout for more information.

No. Only use the laundry location assigned to you by EH&S. There are six laundry locations that have been set up to provide free weekly laundry services to researchers on campus. Any additional laundry bins set up within your building or department could be an individual account arranged between the PI and the laundry vendor.

Please refer to the Laundry Services Handout for more information.

Safety glasses and splash goggles can be cleaned by washing with soap and water. After washing, allow eyewear to air dry before use. Do not use acetone to clean your protective eyewear.

If you are experiencing issues with glasses or goggles fogging up, there are a variety of anti-fog wipes and sprays that labs can purchase to address this issue.

Deciding whether a coat should be laundered or treated as hazardous waste is a judgment call and depends on the hazardous material and quantity involved.

Always consult the Safety Data Sheet before you begin your work and/or call EH&S at (949) 824-6200 for guidance if you are uncertain.

If the lab coat is heavily soiled, damaged, or contaminated with hazardous material (chemical, biological, or radiological), it should be treated as hazardous waste.

Do not place lab coats contaminated with hazardous materials (chemical, biological or radiological) in laundry bins or hampers. Bag the lab coat, place it inside a secondary container, and contact Hazardous Waste Management for pick-up. 

Send an email to ehs-ppe@uci.edu to inform of any lab coats disposed of as hazardous waste.