Improving Lab Coat Selection, Use, and Care

December 4, 2015

In fall 2012 a lab coat initiative was started at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with the overall goal of making it easier for departments to efficiently provide lab coats that users would want to wear. To accomplish this goal, an ad-hoc committee was formed with representatives from multiple MIT departments, the central Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Office, and MIT Sourcing and Procurement. In the subsequent two-year period, the committee successfully updated university guidance on lab coat selection, use, and care; established MIT Preferred Vendors for lab coat laundry and supply; and initiated outreach efforts to encourage availability and proper use of lab coats throughout the Institute. This article summarizes the work performed by the committee and presents several case studies showing how individual departments have worked to establish comprehensive lab coat supply and laundry programs compatible with their individual needs, administrative structures, and lab cultures. Further, suggestions are presented on how other universities seeking to standardize lab coat supply and usage can approach the sometimes daunting project of choosing and setting up an effective lab coat management system.

Journal of Chemical Health and Safety (2015) 22:6,  3–9