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Get Ready for Summer with Proper Personal Attire in the Lab

Facilities Safety

Wearing proper personal attire in the lab and animal care facilities protects both you and the animals entrusted to our care. With the warmer summer months ahead, we ask that you review the basics of proper personal attire in the lab with your staff, including all students who may be involved with research.

REGARDLESS of outdoor weather conditions, personal attire worn in the lab and animal care facility should ALWAYS provide full coverage of the legs, feet, and torso.


  • Shirts or tops must cover the upper torso. Short-sleeve t-shirts are acceptable provided that a gown/lab coat is donned based on your facility’s required entry procedures
  • Shorts, skirts, or pants/capris that leave any part of the leg exposed are NOT permitted
  • Shoes must completely cover the feet. Shoes with holes (including sandals, ballet flats, open toe, open weave) are NOT allowed
  • Pantyhose and/or nylons are also NOT recommended due to an increased risk of injury from chemicals or heat melting nylon to the skin

Lab Coats

Although it may be tempting to forgo lab coats during the warm summer months, they are an essential component of proper lab attire and must be worn when handling chemical, biological, or radiological materials. This requirement also applies to work at a lab bench and/or with equipment where such materials are handled.

Lab coats are NOT to be worn in animal rooms. Coats must be maintained in good condition and should be laundered when they become dirty due to spillage or other contamination.

Example of room entry sign with required PPE icons for room highlighted

Laundering must be done by a commercial company (i.e., Cintas, Sohn Linen). Do NOT launder lab coats at home or via a laundry service that is not equipped (e.g., a non-professional service) to specifically handle lab coats.

Where to Learn More

  • Review the U-Mโ€™s Chemical Hygiene Plan for a complete list of proper lab attire
  • Additional information about the varying levels of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required for working with different animal species and associated hazards can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) website and in the EHS Animal Handler PPE Chart
  • Refer to all posted signage for specific room entry instructions and appropriate donning/doffing of required PPE (see sample room entry sign at right)

If you have any additional questions about PPE, proper lab attire, and/or environmental health and safety, please contact EHS at

We thank you for your help in ensuring a safe and secure research environment.

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