Good lab safety begins with the proper attire. Proper attire is one of the primary means of preventing chemical exposure. Making sure that the students are properly attired helps to prevent chemical burns or other accidents. This is perhaps the most overlooked preventative measure that the students have the most control over. Listed below are the rules adopted by the COS Safety Committee to help protect students from unnecessary chemical exposure.


At a minimum, all lab personnel should be wearing pants and a shirt that covers the entire torso. Crop tops or short tops such as the extreme example on the right, that expose the midriff are not allowed. The reason behind this is that a chemical spill could have occurred and run over the edge. The edge may have been contaminated and thus when a student leans against the bench, they could get a chemical burn on the stomach.


Feet are to be completely covered, preferably with an all leather shoe. Examples of shoes that are not allowed are clogs, sandals, or any other shoe style that does not completely cover the feet, such as those shown on the right. If a medical condition prevents the student from wearing the proper footwear, you are to notify the lab instructor, who will decide what to do. This is to prevent any potential chemical exposure resulting from spills either beside, behind, or on top of the foot.


Long pants or long skirts are to be worn to protect the legs in the event of a chemical accident. Loose clothing such as that on the right should not be worn in the lab. Long hair should be confined. Finally, it is recommended no jewelry should be worn in the lab while performing experiments.


In short, any clothing that exposes the skin should not be worn in the lab. If you are in doubt regarding someone's attire, consult the lab instructor who will make the final determination. Department policy is that lab aprons are required. (This is to prevent damage to the student's clothing and skin). Lab aprons may be purchased at the bookstore or Alpha Chi Sigma will be selling them in labs. Remember, these rules have been approved by the COS safety committee and the Dean, among others. It is your job to see that these rules are enforced for the students' own safety. This is one area that you as a TA have control over, and should try to enforce at all times.