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Laboratory Coats

Laboratory coats that extend to the knees are required for any work in the laboratory. They should be buttoned completely to protect skin and clothing from splatter and spills. These coats are loose-fitting by design so, in case of chemical contact, it is much faster and easier to remove a laboratory coat than the street clothes, therefore minimizing skin contact with hazardous materials.

When NOT to Wear Lab Coat

Laboratory coats should never be worn in public areas such as offices, eating areas, lounge areas, or any place outside of the laboratory. A laboratory coat may transfer hazardous materials and/or contaminants into these areas and expose the general public.

Before you leave your laboratory, remove all personal protective equipment such as laboratory coats and gloves.

Laundering Laboratory Coats

Laboratory coats should not to be laundered in household washing machines nor a public laundromat. Case Western Reserve University has Merchants Linen Services handle the monthly laundering of laboratory coats/scrubs.

To establish service, contact Merchants Linen representative for CWRU, Jack Kenney at 216.961.3310. Once an account is established, drop off lab coats in the dock area of Shipping and Receiving in the Service Building or the dock area of the Wolstein Research Building (WRB). Leave laundry in a clear plastic bag, in the receptacle provided inside the dock area beneath the sign that reads "Merchants Linen.”

Merchants Linen Services recommends labeling lab coats/scrubs with building and room number. Additionally, it is suggested that the following information be included in the bag:

  • Location of laboratory
  • Name of PI, Department and phone number
  • Number of lab coats to be laundered
  • Any repairs needed (e.g., a missing button)

Payment for laundry service is collected monthly. P-card use will be permitted. An invoice will be returned with delivery showing the p-card payment for accounting purposes.

Drop-off/Pick-up Schedule

Coats/Scrubs dropped off by Tuesday may be picked up on the following Tuesday. Clean lab coats are delivered on hangers to the same location where dropped off. Please pick up clean laboratory coats on time to avoid confusion.

Complete the sign-in sheet that is posted near the receptacle where lab coats are dropped off in the Shipping/Receiving dock area of the Service or Wolstein building. Write the drop-off date, PI name, department, room and phone number, and the number of lab coats on the sign-in sheet. When picking up lab coats, write PI name and date on the sign-in sheet.

If these procedures are not followed, lab coats will not be picked up.

Policy on Working Alone

The Laboratory Safety Committee has approved policy pertaining to working alone. Review the following documents:

Working Alone Policy

Prohibited Work Activities

Working Alone Permission Form with Guidelines

Protective Clothing

Lab coats should extend to knees. They are available through the University BookstoreFisher Scientific, or Grainger.

Laboratory Safety Manual

The CWRU Laboratory Biosafety Manual (PDF) and Laboratory Safety Manual (PDF) cannot possibly take into account all procedures that are conducted in laboratories campus wide. For this reason each must keep a Chemical Hygiene Plan (PDF) in the laboratory.