Lab coats are a key element of personal protective equipment in laboratories that not only protects the skin from exposure to hazardous materials, it protects clothing from becoming contaminated and keeps hazardous materials from exiting the lab with the individual. Periodically lab coats should be laundered to remove possible contaminants and maintain them in hygienic condition. Home and public laundry facilities must not be used to clean lab coats. The lab coat management program provides a means to acquire properly fitting lab coats and the opportunity to launder lab coats as needed through an appropriate laundering service.
How does the program work?
The campus recently changed how the lab coat program works. Instead of a rental program through Cintas, EH&S has developed a purchase program for lab coats through Fisher Scientific and separate laundering with Belmont Laundry in Springfield. Lab coats are purchased in bulk and are set-up with the UMass logo and laundering tag ready to be assigned to an individual. When an order is placed for a particular type and size of coat, a name label is applied and the coat is delivered to the lab coat pick up/drop off room in the building where the lab is located. The cost of the lab coats and set-up is recharged to the faculty/supervisor’s department or school. An individual can send their coat for laundering by placing it in the hamper in the lab coat pick-up/drop-off room. EH&S collects the coats and sends them out for laundering every Friday. They are returned the following Friday and redelivered to the lab coat pick-up/drop-off location shortly after. The cost of laundering is covered by EH&S and is not recharged to the department or school thereby simplifying and reducing the accounting.
How do I get a lab coat?
The faculty/supervisor is responsible for ensuring that a lab coat is available for use when working in a laboratory. Each individual must have access to a lab coat for their own personal use. Sharing of lab coats is discouraged. New individuals to a lab should ask their faculty/supervisor if a lab coat is available in the appropriate size or whether a new lab coat should be ordered. If a new order needs to be placed, the individual should fill-in a lab coat order form. Individuals can determine the appropriate size and type of lab coats needed by trying on samples before or after lab safety training or by dropping by Draper Hall room 102. The form can be submitted to a lab safety trainer, at the EH&S front desk in Draper Hall room 117, or by scanning and emailing the form to Christine Rogers at email@example.com. Once the name is applied and the lab coat is delivered to the lab coat pick-up/drop off location, an email is sent to the individual to let them know they can pick it up.
What types of lab coats are available and which is appropriate for my use?
Three different styles of white poly/cotton lab coats are available and are suitable for most labs. In addition, flame resistant treated 100% cotton lab coats in blue are available for those whose work in labs involves larger quantities of flammable liquids. Special requests can be made for lab coats made of Nomex which is a flame resistant fabric. These coats offer a better flame resistance over the long-term as there is no treatment that can be washed away over time. The flame resistance is due to the type of fabric rather than a coating. In addition, special requests can be made for lab coats made of Nomex with an enhanced chemical protection coating for work with particularly hazardous chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid. Sizes available vary by type of coat but range from XXS to 5XL with long sizes available. Click here for information on the styles and sizes available. If a special size or type of coat is desired that is not available, the faculty/supervisor can purchase a lab coat from any vendor and bring it to EH&S for application of the UMass logo, name label, and laundering tag. In this case, only a set-up fee is charged to the faculty supervisor’s department or school.
How many lab coats should I order?
Typically only one lab coat is needed and laundering can occur during a week when there is no lab activity (holiday breaks or vacation). However if it is anticipated that the lab coat is likely to become soiled more frequently, a second lab coat should be ordered so that there is always a coat available during weeks when laundering is occurring.
Where are the lab coat pick up/drop off rooms?
Click here for a list of locations. Lab coats that are dropped off in a hamper in a lab coat room will have their laundered lab coat returned to the same room.
How do I get a replacement for my worn out lab coat?
Lab coats can be replaced when they wear out by filling in a new lab coat order form.
Do I have to return my lab coats when I leave the lab and work for a different faculty member or when I graduate?
If the lab coat has the name of the faculty member or a lab name (such as Aerobiology Lab) then the lab coat must be returned to the faculty or supervisor. If the lab coat has your name on it you can take it to another lab if you change supervisors. You should ask your supervisor if you can take your lab coat when you graduate, but if you do, you must submit it for laundering the week before you plan to leave.