Science, Tech, Math › Science Protective Gear and Safety Equipment Photo Gallery Share Flipboard Email Print Caiaimage/Sam Edwards / Getty Images Science Chemistry Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated November 05, 2019 This is a collection of photographs of protective gear and lab safety equipment. Examples of protective gear include safety glasses and goggles, gloves, lab coats, and hazmat suits. Lab Coat A lab coat protects clothing from contamination. Tom Werner, Getty Images Scientists and physicians wear lab coats to protect clothing from chemical, biological, and radiological exposure. Lab coats are white both because the color makes it easier to spot a contaminant and because they are often washed with bleach. Ideally, a lab coat should be left at the lab and washed on-site. This is particular important when radioactive sources are in use. Full Body Coverage Clean room suits cover a person from head to toe. Jason Butcher, Getty Images While a lab coat primarily protects the wearer, a clean room suit protects the environment from contamination. This type of gear covers the head and body and includes a mask, gloves, and shoe covers. White is the color of choice because it allows for easy detection of debris. This type of gear is usually disposable. It is never allowed outside the area because it would become contaminated. Face Mask and Gloves This guys is taking no chances. He is wearing full protective gear while micropipetting. George Doyle, Getty Images This researcher is wearing a protective face mask, gloves and protective plastic over his clothing. A face shield offers the advantage of full facial protection. It is used when all skin needs to be protected, not just they eyes. Kids Wearing Safety Goggles Kids age 5-7 wearing safety goggles. Ryan McVay, Getty Images These kids are wearing safety goggles to protect their eyes. Safety googles protect the eyes from accidental splashes from the sides as well as the front. Safety Glasses Everyone who sets foot in a chemistry lab should have a pair of safety glasses handy. George Doyle, Getty Images Safety glasses confer less protection than goggles, but they are more comfortable. They are appropriate eye protection when physical debris or a small projectile is the main risk. They are not ideal for use in a chemical wet lab. Prescription safety glasses are available. Contact lenses should not be worn in a lab where chemical, biological, or radiological risks are present. Purple Nitrile Glove This type 6 purple nitrile glove is used to protect the hands from liquid chemicals. Mike6271, Wikipedia Commons There are many different materials used to make gloves. A material that works for one application may be useless or even dangerous when used in a different situation. If you're working with chemicals, be sure to know chemical incompatibilities with gloves. For example, Viton is incompatible with ketones while neoprene is a poor choice for use with aromatic hydrocarbons. White or Transparent Gloves Gloves are available in a range of materials. Narong Niemhom / EyeEm, Getty Images Thinner gloves offer advantages in terms of cost and improved dexterity. Some gloves are form-fitting, while others loosely cover the hand to minimize accidental exposure. Disposable gloves tend not to offer a lot of protection. Many people "double glove" to reduce risk. White gloves may contain latex. If you have a latex allergy, pay attention to glove composition. Disposable gloves typically come with or without a powdered interior. The powder makes it easier to take the gloves on/off and reduces moisture accumulation inside the glove over time. However, some people report skin sensitivity to the product. Lab Safety Gear This scientist is illustrating the use of several pieces of protective gear, including gloves, eye protection, and a lab coat. William Thomas Cain/Getty Images One interesting and useful fact about nitrile gloves is that they react with nitric acid. Spontaneous combustion may occur, potentially resulting in severe burns and the release of toxic fumes. Do not wear nitrile gloves when working with nitric acid or other acids that contain them, such as aqua regia! Hard Hat Hard hats are worn when there is a risk of falling objects. Caiaimage/Agnieszka Olek, Getty Images Hard hats protect the head from falling objects. They may be worn by scientists and engineers, not just by construction workers. Hair Net and Face Mask Hair covers and face masks protect both the wearer and others. Covering hair and wearing a mask protects both the wearer and others. This type of gear is used around other people and animals. The mask minimizes the transfer of infectious agents, while the cap or hair net reduces shedding onto surfaces. MOPP Gear Operation Iraqi Freedom, US Marine Corps soldier wearing Mission-Oriented Protective Posture response level 4 (MOPP-4) gear. March 20, 2003. Sgt. Kevin R. Reed, USMC MOPP is the acronym for "Mission Oriented Protective Posture." This gear is used by U.S. military personnel for exposure to toxic environments, such as those produced by chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. MOPP includes a mask, mask carrier with chemical detection paper and nerve antidote kits, over garments, gloves, and overboots. Hazmat Suit The DEA agents are wearing level B hazmat suits to protect them from dangerous materials. US Department of Justice The US Department of Homeland Security defines a Hazmat suit as "an overall garment worn to protect people from hazardous materials or substances, including chemicals, biological agents, or radioactive materials." A hazmat suit is also known as a decontamination suit. Often the suit is used in conjunction with a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). NBC Suits These NATO soldiers are wearing nuclear, chemical and biological protective gear known as NBC suits. Ssgt. Fernando Serna, US DoD NBC stands for nuclear, biological, chemical. NBC suits are designed to be worn for extended periods of time.