Published 04.22.24

The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University increases compliance and safety with Cintas lab coat program. Cintas lab coat dispensing system with cloud-based software offers 24/7 access to high-quality PPE.


The Ohio State University (OSU) Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is a national leader in education and research and is committed to providing a healthy and safe environment. OSU provides personal protective equipment (PPE), including lab coats and protective eyewear, to everyone within the department who works in a lab. This includes faculty, teaching assistants, graduate researchers and postdoctoral scholars. OSU is focused on promoting a culture of safety that requires everyone’s participation.

“Safety is a top priority that starts from the bottom up,” said Gerhard Raimann, Director of Operations, OSU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “When students enter the workforce, they’ll be expected to make safety a priority, which is why we want to instill a culture of safety early on. We require lab coats to be worn at all times in the lab.”

Supplying about 300 faculty and researchers with lab coats was difficult to manage. Faculty and staff frequently spent valuable time searching for lab coats that were unreturned, misplaced or lost. OSU was struggling to keep track of how many lab coats it had and who was using them. Unfortunately, the lab coat vendor that OSU was using was only making matters worse.

“Our previous lab coat vendor was unreliable and unresponsive,” said Raimann. “They would often miss delivery deadlines, and my calls and emails were left unanswered. We needed a better way to control the lab coat program logistics, tracking and management.”



To make lab coats available to all faculty and researchers, OSU needed a system that was easy to implement and manage. It therefore chose Cintas for its lab coat dispensing system. Cintas installed automated dispensers in the department’s north and south locations. The dispensers are stocked with lab coats, ensuring that hygienically cleaned coats, in the right size, are readily available for all researchers. Faculty and students simply swipe their OSU-issued BuckID cards to dispense a coat and to return it. Activity is saved and monitored proactively by Cintas to ensure coats are being dispensed and returned correctly and that the program is running smoothly. As part of a pilot program with OSU, the dispenser is equipped with Gemini software, a cloud-based system that is proprietary to Cintas that protects users’ data.

“It was important for the lab coats to be accessible using our BuckID cards because of the convenience factor,” Raimann said. “The BuckID cards contain sensitive information, which is protected by Cintas’ cloud-based software. The user interface is clean, smooth, and easy to use.”

The Cintas lab coat dispenser also allows OSU to add users when necessary and to complete a single bulk transaction when they need multiple lab coats. For example, completing a single bulk transaction is easy for a teaching lab supervisor when they need coats for 30 teaching assistants at the beginning of the semester. The easy accessibility of lab coats has led to increased compliance. This level of compliance is already paying dividends. OSU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has experienced no recordable accidents since implementing the program.

With the new lab coat program from Cintas, staff also no longer have to police what students are wearing. The lab coat dispensing system ensures that every student is wearing a clean, safety-rated, and approved coat. In other programs where students are responsible for purchasing and maintaining their own coats, there is no certainty lab coats are approved and properly laundered.

“The lab coat dispensing system is very reliable, and it saves time,” Raimann said. “Students no longer have to worry about getting a lab coat when they need one. And, we don’t have to waste time looking for one. With the dispenser, everyone is always prepared with the proper PPE.”

Another benefit of the Cintas system is its 24/7 availability. OSU grad students often work late in the lab or even on weekends. With the Cintas system, researchers have access to lab coats whenever they need them.

Additionally, OSU proudly shows off the Cintas lab coat dispensing system when prospective College of the Arts and Sciences new faculty and graduate students tour the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

“Our experience working with Cintas to implement the system was outstanding,” Raimann said. “We can rely on Cintas to deliver new lab coats weekly and everyone in our department knows the Cintas representatives on a personal level.”


OSU has experienced numerous benefits since implementing the lab coat dispensing system from Cintas, including:

  • Experienced zero recordable incidents since program implementation.
  • Increased lab coat compliance among grad students.
  • Faculty, staff, and students are protected with high-quality PPE.
  • Clean lab coats from a Cintas facility that are certified hygienically clean through an independent third-party certification.
  • Time savings by not having to track down missing coats.
  • Increased accountability because the Cintas system tracks who dispenses what lab coats and if they are returned.
  • Convenient 24/7 access to lab coats because students can use their BuckID cards to dispense and return lab coats.
  • Parents, alumni, and donors can see that OSU values researchers and students conducting science experiments safely.