Re: Clothing etiquette for the bench tech.

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From:Amos Brooks <>
To:"Garza-Williams, Sara (by way of Histonet)" <>
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    In our lab there is a policy of wearing labcoats in all parts or the lab
which I buck constantly. It is understandable if one is working with hazardous
chemicals or specimens. I feel it is excessive for cutting, the coat sleeve
dips into the float bath and gets caught on the microtome when transferring the
sections to the bath. Not to mention they are hot, uncomfortable and
unnecessary given the lack of hazard involved in sectioning.
    My thoughts on the CAP situation is that you can put into the policy manual
that techs must wear the coats while in the lab. That doesn't mean you need to
make a big deal of it. It is a question of policy versus enforcement. If it is
explained to the techs that outsiders should not see them without their coats,
then during an inspection, put the infernal things on.
    Now, about the jeans! Patients do not see lab techs, they are well hidden
from the general public. In many cases the techs clothes are subjected to many
chemicals, stains and infectious agents. As long as their skin is covered, and
what they wear is not offensive to anyone in the lab, they should wear what
they want. I personally refuse to wear dress clothes into the lab, I dress down
compared to my usual attire because I know darn well that as soon as I wear
something nice I'll dump a jar of hematoxylin on myself. (see Murphy's Law) How
many mechanics do you see wearing white shirts and khakis <--- see I can't even
spell it! Is that right?
Amos Brooks

"Garza-Williams, Sara (by way of Histonet)" wrote:

> Please, please I need the your help regarding my argument to a CAP
> inspector (lab general).
> She gave me a huge "Ding" regarding the fact that our techs were not
> wearing lab coats(in the cutting and staining area), they do wear gloves.
> She also justified her point by indicating because the techs were wearing
> jeans it was "unprofessional".  Of course, I could hardly contain myself
> and had try very hard to control myself from stating what I really wanted
> to say...
> I did tell her,  specimens were never triage in the main lab, so full PPE
> was irrelevant.  Our techs do wear nitrile gloves for protection from the
> reagents and chemicals.
> She said full PPE was essential because the blocks and slides were
> considered infectious. So of course I said "At what point does the slide
> and/or block ever become non-infectious-when it reaches the pathologist?"
> She said "They should continue to be considered infectious and that the
> pathologist should be wearing lab coats when they read out slides."  I said
> "Should the pathologist wear gloves as well, they have to touch the
> slide".  Our exchange went on and on until she said "I have to give you the
> deficiency".
> My pathologist went ballistic, as I did.  He and I would like to know what
> do other labs do?
> We are determined to argue for principle sake only.  My pathologist feels
> that PPE is essential when you consider every situation with logic but he
> doesn't care if the techs cut naked (metaphorically). in the lab because
> they do such good work and work safe.
> So my question is,  Do you require techs to wear a lab coat in the main
> part of the lab?  What is your lab policy?  Our policy (approved by the
> Infectious Disease department)  specifically states that no PPE is required
> in the main lab area, but full PPE is required in the gross room ,morgue or
> when cutting frozen sections.
> Of the hospitals that I've seen (a least a dozen) none of them require
> their techs to wear coats.
> I'd love the hear from other labs.  Sorry about the long story but I'm
> still steaming....
> Thanks
> Sara

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