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Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals
get caught in equipment. Similarly, rings, bracelets, watches, or other jewelry that could be damaged, trap chemicals close to the skin, come in contact with electrical sources, or get caught in machinery should not be worn. Leather clothing or accessories should not be worn in situations where chemicals could be absorbed in the leather and held close to the skin.
Protective apparel should always be worn if there is a possibility that personal clothing could become contaminated with chemically hazardous material. Washable or disposable clothing worn for laboratory work with especially hazardous chemicals includes special laboratory coats and aprons, jumpsuits, special boots, shoe covers, and gauntlets, as well as splash suits. Protection from heat, moisture, cold, and/or radiation may be required in special situations. Among the factors to be considered in choosing protective apparel, in addition to the specific application, are resistance to physical hazards, flexibility and ease of movement, chemical and thermal resistance, and ease of cleaning or disposal. Although cotton is a good material for laboratory coats, it reacts rapidly with acids. Plastic or rubber aprons can provide good protection from corrosive liquids but can be inappropriate in the event of a fire. Plastic aprons can also accumulate static electricity, and so they should not be used around flammable solvents, explosives sensitive to electrostatic discharge, or materials that can be ignited by static discharge. Disposable garments provide only limited protection from vapor or gas penetration. Disposable garments that have been used when handling carcinogenic or other highly hazardous material should be removed without exposing any individual to toxic materials and disposed of as hazardous waste.
Street shoes may not be appropriate in the laboratory, where both chemical and mechanical hazards may exist. Substantial shoes should be worn in areas where hazardous chemicals are in use or mechanical work is being done. Clogs, perforated shoes, sandals, and cloth shoes do not provide protection against spilled chemicals. In many cases, safety shoes are advisable. Shoe covers may be required for work with especially hazardous materials. Shoes with conductive soles are useful to prevent buildup of static charge, and insulated soles can protect against electrical shock.
6.F.1.3 Eye and Face Protection
Safety glasses with side shields that conform to ANSI standard Z87.1-1989 should be required for work with hazardous chemicals. Ordinary prescription glasses with hardened lenses do not serve as safety glasses. Contact lenses can sometimes be worn safely if appropriate eye and face protection is also worn (see, however,section 5.C.2.1). Although safety glasses can provide satisfactory protection from injury from flying particles, they do not fit tightly against the face and offer little protection against splashes or sprays of chemicals. It is appropriate for a laboratory to provide impact goggles that include splash protection (splash goggles), full-face shields that also protect the throat, and specialized eye protection (i.e., protection against ultraviolet light or laser light). Splash goggles, which have splash-proof sides to fully protect the eyes, should be worn if there is a splash hazard in any operation involving hazardous chemicals. Impact protection goggles should be worn if there is a danger of flying particles, and full-face shields with safety glasses and side shields are needed for complete face and throat protection. When there is a possibility of liquid splashes, both a face shield and splash goggles should be worn; this is especially important for work with highly corrosive liquids. Full-face shields with throat protection and safety glasses with side shields should be used when handling explosive or highly hazardous chemicals. If work in the laboratory could involve exposure to lasers, ultraviolet light, infrared light, or intense visible light, specialized eye protection should be worn. It also is appropriate for a laboratory to provide visitor safety glasses and a sign indicating that eye protection is required in laboratories where hazardous chemicals are in use.
6.F.1.4 Hand Protection
Gloves appropriate to the hazard should be used at all times. It is important that the hands and any skin that is likely to be exposed to hazardous chemicals receive special attention. Proper protective gloves should be worn when handling hazardous chemicals, toxic materials, materials of unknown toxicity, corrosive materials, rough or sharp-edged objects, and very hot or very cold objects. Before the gloves are used, it is important that they be inspected for discoloration, punctures, or tears. A defective or improper glove can itself be a serious hazard in handling hazardous chemicals. If chemicals do penetrate glove material, they could then be held in prolonged contact with the hand and cause more serious damage than in the absence of a proper glove.
The degradation and permeation characteristics of the glove material selected must be appropriate for protection from the hazardous chemicals being handled. Glove selection guides (available from most man-