What are the differences in glove needs for the various risks involved when working in a cleanroom?
Cleanrooms and cleanroom protocols are all about deliberate, diligent protection. They protect the product and materials, but most importantly, they protect people. The safety and protection of the cleanroom worker is paramount, and the glove is one of the key tools used to assure it. There are three categories of hazards from which humans need protection: physical, biological, and chemical. As far as gloves are concerned, each category yields separate, unique requirements for safety.
Physical – If you work around sharp or abrasive objects, you face a physical risk of harm. Anything that can cut, scratch, or penetrate the skin is an obvious hazard. True cut protection is only found in cut-resistant gloves that need be worn beneath cleanroom gloves. However, improvements have been made in the durability of cleanroom gloves. You may not require the sophistication of cut-resistant gloves with some of the available materials.
Biological – Aseptic manufacturing and research are common environments for biological hazard risks. Workers handle potentially pathogenic materials, usually wearing thin, single use, disposable gloves similar to surgical gloves. Barrier integrity may be tested by evaluating for pinholes. The Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) of gloves like these are determined by the manufacturer. When choosing your gloves, know that he lower the AQL, the higher quality the barrier.
Chemical – Chemicals and chemical compounds react differently to materials in gloves and to skin. Single use gloves are designed for splash protection from small quantities of hazardous chemicals. This is only enough protection to allow the person time to remove and replace the gloves should chemicals splash onto the hands.
The type of gloves you need, as well as other protective apparel, will vary by application, so know what you need protection from when ordering. If you need cleanroom validation, certification, or construction, contact Gerbig Engineering Company. We have thirty years of experience in cleanroom success. 888-628-0056; firstname.lastname@example.org.