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Protecting Lab Workers from Liquid Chemical and Thermal Burn Injury

Laboratory workers are often exposed to an abundance of flammable and combustible liquids that pose the risk of burn injury. Employers that implement a PPE program that’s specific to lab hazards will help protect workers and labs from the outcomes of serious injuries from exposure to these hazards. This whitepaper provides employers with information on the uses and benefits of FR/CP and CP lab coats.

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Chemical Splash Protection for Laboratories

Lab coats have been used for decades, but they have typically been made from cotton or polyester/cotton blends, with the primary purpose of keeping foreign materials off the clothing under the coat. Two of the most common lab accidents involve chemicals and fire/explosions, and common lab coats don’t provide protection from either hazard. This technical brief outlines the importance of chemical splash protection (CP) clothing for laboratories. Read on to learn more.

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BETTER THAN YOUR AVERAGE LAB COAT
Introducing the all new CP Lab Coat - the next step in the evolution of lab coat protection. This lightweight and breathable lab coat is designed to protect lab workers from inadvertent liquid chemical splashes that are either dropped or splashed on the fabric.
FR Clothing for Laboratories

Lab coats have been used for decades, but they have typically been made from cotton or polyester/cotton blends with the primary purpose being to keep foreign materials off of the clothing worn under the coat. Flame-resistant (FR) lab coats have also been available for years, but they have not been widely used. However, the use of FR lab coats in university labs has become increasingly important due to a number of recent accidents related to fire and clothing ignition. Having PPE that combines durable FR protection with inadvertent chemical-splash protection (CP), makes it ideal for many laboratories. This technical brief outlines the importance of FR clothing in laboratories. Read on the learn more.

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THE GROUNDBREAKING LAB COAT
The FR/CP Lab Coat is the first-of-its-kind in laboratory safety. It combines durable FR protection with inadvertent chemical splash protection, making it ideal for most laboratories.
Safety Updates
Top 5 Lab Safety Tips

OXNARD, Calif. (Feb. 19, 2018) — From fires and explosions to sharp objects, pathogens and dangerous chemicals, laboratories are home to a variety of hazards. To help promote lab safety, Workrite Uniform Company — a manufacturer of protective workwear, including lab coats — recommends following these safety tips.

1. ESTABLISH A COMPREHENSIVE SAFETY PROGRAM

Based on the hazards in your laboratory and the applicable safety standards and regulations, determine the equipment, procedures, emergency protocols and environmental conditions that will best facilitate safety. Be sure to document the program and complete ongoing audits as needed.

2. CREATE A CULTURE OF SAFETY

Once you’ve established a safety program, it is important to communicate all safety information clearly and ensure laboratory personnel and visitors fully understand the actions they need to take. Make sure that safety is treated as a top priority and that each individual has the safety resources they need and feels comfortable bringing up safety concerns.

3. FOLLOW SAFE WORK PRACTICES

Outlining safety procedures is one thing — following them consistently is another. Even basics such as keeping food out of the lab, storing chemicals correctly, practicing good housekeeping in work areas and washing your hands can easily be forgotten. Remember that skipping a step even once can have devastating consequences.

4. USE THE PROPER PPE

Personal protective equipment (PPE) can include lab coats, safety glasses or goggles, gloves, and beyond. Always ensure that the equipment you select is designed for the hazards present in your laboratory. For example, you may need lab coats that are flame-resistant (FR), offer chemical-splash protection (CP) or provide a combination of both (FR/CP).

5. REGULARLY RE-EVALUATE YOUR APPROACH

Even if you have a strong safety program in place and have gone awhile without an accident, it is still important to be vigilant. Stay on the lookout for potential safety issues as well as new innovations in laboratory safety, and continue to improve your program over time.

Workrite Uniform manufactures chemical-splash protection (CP) lab coats, flame-resistant (FR) lab coats and FR/CP lab coats that combine thermal and chemical-splash protection in a single garment.

STREET CLOTHES WON’T MAKE THE CUT
Bulwark CP offers FR/CP lab coats that are designed specifically for use in the specialized laboratory environment, to protect against inadvertent chemical splashes and thermal hazards.
Ask An Expert
Swatch Kit 101

Chemical testing methodology for Bulwark CP’s Swatch Kit

The swatch kit is a unique tool that allows you to test the chemicals used in your lab against Bulwark CP and FR/CP fabric. Our groundbreaking lab coats help protect against burn injuries caused by inadvertent chemical splashes by repelling small amounts of liquid chemicals. We’ve tested it against many common chemicals, but since they vary from lab to lab, we highly encourage you to run a test using the chemicals specific to your lab.

Your safety is our number one priority, so remember to exercise caution and be sure you’re wearing proper PPE when performing the test.

Here's how it's done:

1. Place two or more test specimens flat on a smooth, horizontal surface.

2. Carefully place a small drop (approx. 5 mm in diameter) on the test specimen, in three locations along the width of the fabric, approx. 1 1/2 inches apart.

3. The dropper tip should be held at a height of approx. 1/4 in from the fabric surface. (DO NOT TOUCH THE FABRIC WITH THE DROPPER TIP).

4. Observe the drops for 10 seconds.

5. Compare the drops to the AATCC 193 Visual Rating Guide below. We consider an A or B rating as passing.

Safety Updates
The Fundamentals of Lab Safety

In labs across our country and around the globe, important work is being done. Each and every day, scientists are making discoveries that improve our world and saves lives. At Bulwark CP, it is our relentless pursuit to help protect the brilliant minds behind that work. We develop innovative PPE solutions that protect lab workers from inadvertent chemical splashes and thermal hazards, while allowing them to move freely and comfortably, all the discovery-driven day long. But while proper PPE is a crucial part of the protection equation, there’s more to lab safety than having the right gear. From allocating resources to developing failsafe processes, below is our experts’ list of 15 fundamental practices to ensure this environment of ingenuity is one of protection, too.

15 Fundamental Practices

1. Follow the written Environmental Health & Safety affairs (EH&S) policy statement.

2. Read your lab safety manual.

3. Organize a departmental committee of employees and management that meets regularly to discuss EH&S issues.

4. Allocate a portion of the departmental budget to safety.

5. Implement an EH&S orientation for all new employees. 

6. Make learning to be healthier, safer and more environmentally friendly an integral part of your education, work and life.

7. Get involved in your safety program, make safety part of your day-to-day job and encourage your peers to do the same.

8. Be prepared for unannounced laboratory inspections.

9. Identify and correct hazardous conditions and unsafe practices.

10. Before conducting an experiment, ask yourself:

- What are the hazards or potential hazards?

- What regulatory standards apply to these hazards?

- What are the prudent practices, protective facilities and personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to minimize the risk of exposure to hazards?

11. Include health and safety considerations in every pre-experiment discussion.

12. Ensure that the appropriate PPE, such as flame-resistant or chemical-splash protective lab coat, is on hand and available when you need it.

13. Develop specific work practices for individual experiments, such as those that involve particularly hazardous materials and/or should only be conducted in a ventilated hood.

14. Don't allow experiments to run unattended unless they are failsafe.

15. Maintain an easily accessible safety library with relevant resources.

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