The Basics of Proper Personal Attire in the Laboratory

April 20, 2017

Shorts, tank tops, and open-toed sandals are perfect for the outdoors – but not for the laboratory or animal care facilities. As warm weather descends upon campus, and as you welcome new students to your lab throughout the summer months, please take a moment to review the basics of proper personal attire in the laboratory.

Proper personal attire completely covers the torso, legs, and feet. Specifically:

  • Shirts or tops must cover the upper torso;
  • Shorts, skirts, or pants/capris that leave any part of the leg exposed are NOT allowed;
  • Shoes must completely cover the feet. Sandals, open toe, open weave, or shoes with holes are NOT allowed; and
  • Panty hose and/or nylons are also NOT recommended due to an increased risk of injury from chemicals or heat melting the nylon to the skin.

Although it may also be tempting to forgo lab coats during warmer weather, they are an essential component of proper laboratory attire and must be worn at all times in order to provide maximum protection to the wearer.

Please refer to the U-M’s Chemical Hygiene Plan for a full list of proper laboratory attire. Specific information about the level(s) of PPE required based on the level of risk for different animal species can be found in the EHS Animal Handler PPE Chart. We also encourage you to download and post this Proper Personal Laboratory Attire Sign in your work area.

Failure to follow these guidelines puts individual and animal safety at risk, and could lead to serious citations for the University. Maintaining a safe and secure environment for our animals and our research personnel is paramount to the success of our institution and the integrity of our research. It is also the responsibility of every individual involved in animal care and use to ensure that these standards are maintained at all times, and in all circumstances.