Use of Lab Coats

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Q: Is the wearing of lab coats really necessary in the healthcare setting? Where is the OSHA regulation requiring lab coats to be worn in the healthcare laboratory?

A: As with most OSHA regulations, enforcement of standards is subject to the presence of hazards, rather than being based on a specific work setting. And it is the employer's responsibility to identify hazards, assess risks, apply engineering and work practice controls, and finally establish what PPE is required for the workplace.

References to lab coats as appropriate PPE are in the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard under sections (d)(3)(i), (d)(3)(ii), and (d)(3)(xi). This information is also found online in our OSHA reference guide under Section 3-3.11 personal Protective Equipment.