FAQ: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Frequently asked questions about PPE

Updated: Feb. 22, 2022

  • I started work in a lab and was given or told to obtain respiratory protection (e.g. N95, respirator), how do I get fitted for this?
  • In order to wear or obtain this type of PPE, you must be enrolled in the respiratory protection program. Find out more here.
  • How do I get my PPE?
  • The Scientific Store distributes campus PPE and many frequently needed lab items.

    Fittings are available at the Scientific Store, on LaRue Road (former site of AggieSurplus), from 8:30-10:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To make an appointment for an afternoon fitting, please contact scientificstore@ucdavis.edu or call 530-752-0157. 

    You will need to provide your Assessment PPE Print-Out (see printing instructions .pdf), an account or recharge number, and your building and room number. 

  • I received a Barrier Lab Coat. Are there tips on how to properly use it?
  • The Cal-OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard (Title 8 §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.

  • I received several lab coats (e.g. flame resistant lab coat, barrier lab coat). When should I wear a certain lab coat?
  • Please refer to the PPE selection guide.

  • I was only given a “Flame Resistant (FR) Lab Coat”, but I don’t always work with flammable chemicals with an ignition source. Can I wear a different lab coat?
  • Yes. You may request a traditional laboratory coat for activities that do not require FR. Reprint your voucher and take it to the VMCS for fitting and ordering. Please have an account or recharge number available.

  • The voucher that I printed doesn’t list a Flame Resistant lab coat, but I work with large volumes of flammable liquids. Can I get a FR lab coat?
  • If you work with large volumes of flammable liquids and an FR lab coat is not indicated on your PPE voucher, the PI or Responsible Party should login to the Assessment and amend their assessment to include the task of working with large volumes of flammable liquids to ensure that you have the appropriate PPE.

  • I understand that some FR materials are coated with chemicals that may pose health risks. What fabric is used in the FR coats distributed at the event?
  • The FR lab coats selected are made of a material produced from DuPont called Nomex IIIA http://www.dupont.com/products-and-services/personal-protective-equipment/thermal-protective/brands/fr-clothing.html. This is a para-aramid synthetic fiber that by its very structure is flame resistant. It does not need any additional treatments. The fibers are mixed with Kevlar(TM) fibers for structure and anti-shrinkage during a flash over, as well as an anti- static dissipation fiber. The only chemicals added are the royal blue dye and a starch-like material called “sheeting” that is used to stiffen the fabric during sewing to help in the cutting and assembly process. The sheeting washes out on the first wash.

  • What should I do if my FR lab coat gets soiled or contaminated?
  • Heavy soil and contaminants, especially if greasy or petroleum based, are flammable and can reduce the FR performance of the garment unless properly laundered and removed. If there is any evidence of flammable substances on the garment (including dust, solvents, solids, oils and other petroleum-based contaminants) that cannot be properly removed by cleaning, the garment should be discarded. To properly launder your FR garment, contact your Aramark representative. Read more about laundering considerations.

  • My lab coat got contaminated with biohazardous materials, what should I do?
  • Autoclave the contaminated lab coat (the white cotton, barrier, and FR lab coats can be autoclaved) at 121 degrees C, 15 psi, for 30 minutes. After autoclaving, place it in the hamper for laundry service.

  • Are there any restrictions on where PIs are allowed to obtain PPE for themselves or lab members?
  • The Scientific Store stocks a wide variety of safety eyewear and lab coats to meet all the requirements of the LHAT process. Any source of PPE is acceptable provided the eyewear meets ANSI requirements and the lab coat meets UCOP policy specifications, fits properly, and in the case of flame-resistant lab coats, is UL listed. However, obtaining PPE from the Scientific Store through the LHAT process allows for easy tracking of the required training and distribution of PPE. Aramark services will launder customer-owned garments.

  • How do I get my new lab coat laundered?
  • Aramark has the service contract for the laundering of laboratory coats. Please speak to your lab manager/safety contact/departmental safety coordinator or PI to ask if they have a laundry account set up with Aramark. If they do have an account they will assist you with getting your coats added to their laundry account, which may entail putting a piece of duct tape inside the collar with department name and your PI name. A barcode will be added to the coat upon return.

  • What do I need when trying to set up laundry service with Aramark?
  • Before contacting Aramark, try to identify a potential laundry location. Also provide an estimate of how many garments you anticipate being turned in on a regular basis, and the frequency of service you would like to receive. (i.e. weekly, every other week, etc.) Once you have initiated an inquiry for service via the designated email address, Aramark will contact you to set up an onsite meeting. Aramark Uniform Services customer service: (800) 272-6275.

  • Once Aramark has been contacted, how long will it take to start service?
  • After the laundry location and frequency of service has been identified and agreed upon by both parties, you will need to create a P.O. for the requested services. Once a P.O. has been created and provided to Aramark, services will begin within 1-2 weeks, depending on the next scheduled delivery on campus.

  • How do I pay for my laundry service with Aramark?
  • Follow this process:

    1. User works with Aramark to establish or refine account
    2. User initiates PR in Kuali against Agreement A28548 which will become the APO used to pay invoices
    3. User may transmit APO number to Aramark for reference on their account

  • The PPE (lab coat or eye protection) I was given doesn’t fit. What can I do?
  • Walk-in PPE fittings and refittings have been suspended during reduced operations; if you know your size you can still purchase a lab coat. Contact The Scientific Store to do so.

    During normal operations, you can visit the Scientific Store in Haring Hall rm. 1131. They will refit you and provide the appropriate PPE.

  • What is the purpose of the Safety Glasses?
  • Please refer to the PPE selection guide.

  • We have a number of visiting scholars and other individuals that tour our laboratory. How do we get PPE for them? 
  • If you have extra PPE in good condition, this could be used as protection for visitors to your laboratories. If you do not have extra PPE, you can purchase standard sizes of laboratory coats through a variety of places, including the Scientific Store, for your visitors. If eye protection is required, relatively inexpensive safety glasses (< $5) can be purchased through Fisher Scientific.

  • Do I need to have lab coats available for service technicians that come in the laboratory to service equipment? Do you provide them?
  • Generally, service technicians provide their own PPE when visiting a laboratory. However, if it is required due to the activities taking place in the laboratory and they do not have it, they should not be allowed to service your equipment at that time. EH&S does not provide lab coats or any other PPE for service technicians. Keep in mind that anyone entering a lab for any purpose must be wearing the minimum attire (long pants or equivalent and closed-toe shoes).