HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT FOR MY CRITICAL ENVIRONMENT?
Critical environments, also known as controlled environments, are areas that must have certain parameters, such as air quality and temperature always controlled. These environments are often created in order to protect the area from outside contamination, while allowing research to occur. Choosing the right personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial in order to protect the surrounding environment and research you’re conducting.
Other than keeping the temperature controlled, these environments have other limitations and requirements in place such as contamination limit, power & electrical requirements, special security protocol and lighting limits. There are many classes of a critical environment and some may have much more stringent requirements than the other.
Cleanrooms are a type of critical environment, however it requires more stringent contamination requirements such as:
- Dust particle requirements – cleanrooms must have low levels of pollutants, dust and airborne particles. These particles have the ability to compromise the research that is being conducted and therefore needs to be regulated
- Filter requirements – most cleanrooms utilise advance filtering systems which clean the air to prevent cross-contamination
- Personal protective equipment for occupants – most cleanrooms require occupants to wear boots, suits and masks to limit contamination
What PPE should I be wearing in a critical environment?
80% of contamination occurred in cleanrooms are from employees. In order to maintain a clean and sanitary environment, there are several different kinds of PPE that should be worn to protect the environment and the research being conducted:
- Masks & Respirators
- Headwear & Eyewear
- Hand Hygiene & Gloves
Garments manufactured for cleanrooms are designed for maximum control of particulate and microbial contamination, providing coverage in the most important areas. Garments such as the cleanroom coverall and the cleanroom barrier coverall with the hood can protect individuals from particulates and hazardous powders and solutions, while barrier gowns are commonly used when cytotoxic drugs are administered.
Masks & Respirators
Masks and respirators are crucial apparel to keep the cleanroom environment sterile. Masks designed for cleanrooms have been assessed and tested for low particulate shedding and particulate and bacterial filtration, ensuring cross contamination does not occur. Respirators are designed for effective protection against hazards found in the cleanroom such as vapours and acid gas. It offers maximum protection with a tight face seal while ensuring the respirator remains comfortable on the user.
Headwear and Eyewear
Protection for the eyes as well as the head should always be worn in order to protect the cleanroom environment against contamination from skin flakes and hair. Covering the head and beard is a key component of keeping the critical environment clean and sterile.
Contamination can easily occur through soiled footwear. Wearing protective overshoes or disposable shoecovers is crucial to protect the sanitary environment. Chemical spills and hazardous substances on the floor can cause a variety of health risks and injuries if they are carried outside the sterile environment on the surface of an employees shoes.
Hand Hygiene & Gloves
Washing hands is crucial, inside and outside the cleanroom environment. The importance of hand hygiene should always be emphasised, with hand sanitisers being available in common areas. In clean room environments, gloves should be worn to minimise contamination. There are different types of gloves available depending on the different levels of protection required.
Do not let your critical environment be easily contaminated! At Clean Room Garments, we have a large variety of specialised products designed specifically for personal protection in controlled environments. We are committed to developing cleanroom supplies that meet your individual organisational contamination needs and broader compliance standards. Contact us today or speak to your CRG Account Manager to see how CRG can provide value to your organisation.