THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING YOUR CRITICAL ENVIRONMENT AND FINDING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS FOR YOU
All companies should have a thorough understanding of their critical environment.
Critical environments are controlled areas which have stringent parameters, including air quality and temperature control. Other restrictions imposed can also include contamination limits, power and electrical requirements, special security protocols and lighting limits.
These critical environments are pivotal in protecting the area from outside contamination, which allows research to be more smoothly conducted. Additionally, the right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential to further protect your research and surrounding environment.
Below are the key requirements of critical environments:
Pressure – Many controlled environments are pressurised, meaning that air is pushed faster into the room than it is let out. This high-pressure environment ensures the removal of dust, dirt and airborne microbes.
Temperature/Humidity – Critical environments typically have autonomous heating or cooling systems, alongside humidity controls, to maintain regulated temperatures. This protects equipment and laboratory conditions.
Segregation – Critical environments must be partitioned or segregated from the rest of the facility or commercial space. They should be stand-alone areas with their own rooms. This prevents contamination while enabling air pressure and temperature to be controlled.
Cleanrooms are particularly important to understand since they are often used interchangeably with critical environments. While cleanrooms are certainly one distinctive type of critical environment, they require more stringent procedures and mechanisms, including:
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 advanced filtering systems which clean the air to prevent cross-contamination. These are especially crucial in hospital or clinical spaces to protect patients from airborne transmission of infections.
PPE – Most cleanrooms require occupants to wear special types of footwear, head gear, garments and masks to limit contamination.
Which products do I need for my critical environment?
Research has shown that 80% of contamination comes from people. Your critical environment should be safely guarded by using the right materials and PPE, the main products would include:
- Garments – Cleanroom garments are designed for maximum control of particulate and microbial contamination, providing coverage in the most important areas. Here at CRG we provide a versatile range of garments, which are specially designed to protect workers from hazardous substances. Additionally, our range of disposable garments ensure full head-to-toe coverage, including coveralls, hoods, lab coats and sleeve covers.
- Masks and Respirators – Masks and respirators are crucial in assisting to keep your critical environments sterile. Face masks designed for cleanrooms have been tested for low particulate shedding and bacterial filtration, minimising any risks of cross contamination. On the other hand, respirators are designed for effective protection against cleanroom hazards, 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 head and eyes is incredibly important to shield the critical environment against contamination from skin flakes and hair particles. These head and beard coverings are essential to maintain sterility in cleanrooms. CRG also provides cleanroom goggles, which are manufactured from strong, lightweight and comfortable materials. Our goggles have anti-fog systems, optically correct toughened lenses, with indirect ventilation systems, and are suitable for those who wear glasses.
- Footwear – In any critical environment, there are always risks for chemical spills and hazardous substances on the floor. These can cause a variety of health risks and injuries if they are carried outside the sterile environment on the surface of an employee’s shoes. This makes it important to protect the sanitary conditions of the cleanroom. Wearing protective overshoes or disposable shoecovers is essential, which can be easily applied using the innovative Step ‘n Go Kinetic Applicator.
- Cleaning Equipment – Choosing suitable cleaning equipment for any critical environment is significant to maintain effective particulate or microbial control. From professional mopping systems and pre-assembled trolleys, to monitoring and inspection kits, CRG offers a range of cleaning products to suit all levels of contamination control.
Need to find the right products for your critical environment?
At CRG 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 Key Account Manager to see how we can provide value to your organisation.