Last Revised: March 17, 2023

Laboratory furniture must have smooth, non-porous surfaces that resist the absorption of liquids and the harsh effects of disinfectants.  Chairs and other furniture used in the laboratory should be covered with a non-fabric material that can be easily decontaminated.  Chairs with a mesh back rest are not acceptable. This specification applies to all laboratories on campus.  Project Managers, Principal Investigators or Laboratory Managers should consult with EHRS before submitting final purchase requests.


Laboratory seating should be upholstered with vinyl or be constructed of solid materials such as plastic or wood that has been sealed to render it non-porous.  Finishes shall be as resistant as possible to the corrosive chemical activity of disinfectants and other chemicals used in the laboratory.  Natural or synthetic fabric upholstery or mesh is not acceptable for use in a laboratory.


Improper seating can have a negative impact on employee health and productivity.  Please refer to the following guidelines when selecting chairs for laboratories:

Chairs for working at laboratory benches should have the following adjustments:

  • Pneumatic height adjustment
  • Adjustable lumbar support
  • Adjustable foot ring
  • Adjustable seat pan depth (preferred)

Chairs for working at computer workstations or biological safety cabinets should have the following adjustments:

  • Pneumatic height adjustment
  • Adjustable lumbar support
  • Independently adjustable and lockable seat and back tilt
  • Adjustable seat pan depth (preferred)

If the chair has arms, the arms should have the following adjustments:

  • Adjustable height arms (small “T” style)
  • Adjustable arm width (preferred)


If you need additional information, contact us


1. NIH Design Requirements Manual 2020.  Department of Health and Human Services, USA.

2. Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 6th Edition.  2020.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health.  US Government Printing Office, Washington.

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