2.1.3 Personal protective equipment

  • Protective laboratory clothing must be worn at all times while staff are working in the laboratory. Protective clothing must not be worn outside the laboratory area (for example, in canteens, coffee rooms, offices, libraries, staff rooms and toilets).Laboratory coats and gowns must be stored separately from personal clothing. Clean gowns and used gowns must be stored in different areas of the laboratory. Laboratory coats and gowns should be changed at least weekly, but laundering should not occur at home.
  • Laboratory gowns should have long sleeves and elasticized cuffs (at least 30 mm long); they should fasten at the back. Different sizes of gowns should be available for staff. Gowns must be worn when working in a laboratory where there is a high risk of TB infection.
  • Laboratory coats usually have long sleeves and fasten in the front. Different sizes of laboratory coats should be available for staff.
  • Gloves must be worn for all procedures that involve direct contact, or may involve accidental contact, with sputum, blood, body fluids and other potentially infectious materials. After use, gloves should be removed aseptically and hands washed.
  • Personnel must wash their hands after any overt contamination, after completing work during which infectious materials were handled, and always before they leave the laboratory’s working areas. Personnel should thoroughly lather their hands with soap, using friction, for at least 15 seconds; rinse them in clean water; and dry them using a clean paper towel. Automated or hands-free taps (faucets) are preferable. However, where these are not available, a paper towel should be used to turn off the tap to avoid recontaminating clean hands.
  • Eating, drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics and handling contact lenses are prohibited in the laboratory.
  • Storing food or drink anywhere in the laboratory’s working areas is prohibited.
  • Open-toed footwear must not be worn in the laboratory.
  • Mobile telephones should not be used in the laboratory.

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