Keeping yourself and your employees safe at work while handling dangerous chemicals is your organization’s top priority. Having the right gear for the job is how you accomplish this. Providing everyone with a chemical safety suit is the first step in protecting your staff from chemical splashes. This can help prevent workplace accidents, lost productivity, and additional expenses. But it’s not enough just to have the right protection. You must also know how to use it properly for it to work effectively. Here are five tips to keep everyone safe while wearing a chemical splash suit.
1. Be Aware of Additional Hazards
Donning a chemical safety suit is the first step in protecting from chemical splashes. However, this may create additional hazards you hadn’t prepared for that prevent your employees from being safe and doing quality work. These hazards can include heat stress, physical and psychological stress, or impaired vision, mobility, and communication. Keep in mind that just as under protection is dangerous, so is over protection. Be sure your staff can maintain an appropriate temperature, see clearly, communicate with others, and move around without restriction while wearing a chemical safety suit.
2. Dress Appropriately for Each Job
Depending on the type and amount of chemicals used on a regular basis, you may only need to equip your staff with an apron, gloves, and face shield. Other times, you may need to be more fully covered, such as with coveralls, a hood, and boot coverings. Keep in mind that the required uniform for one task might not be enough protection for another task. Always be aware of when employees are changing tasks or environments and dress them appropriately. These standards should be instructed and overseen by a supervisor to maintain safety.
3. Just Wearing It Isn’t Good Enough
Providing workers with a suit is only the first step. They must also wear it, and wear it appropriately. Make sure all employees are trained on donning and doffing their chemical safety suit. You may even wish to have a supervisor oversee these tasks to ensure each employee is fully protected. Proper standards should be outlined by the manufacturer and followed precisely each and every time the suit is put on and taken off. It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s important to remain safe and avoid costly mistakes.
4. Reusable vs. Disposable Suits
When deciding whether to purchase reusable or disposable suits, consider the pros and cons of each. A reusable suit may be more cost effective, but it must also be monitored after every wear for extensive contamination. A small splash here and there may not be a huge issue, but over time this can lead to degradation of the fabric. It should be disposed of before it reaches the possibility of harming the wearer. To avoid this, consider disposable suits instead. These may be more costly, but they more easily avoid any accidents.
5. Choose the Right Material for Each Task
The manufacturer should provide chemical resistance data on each chemical safety suit. This includes permeation, degradation, and penetration numbers. These stats help you to determine which material is necessary for the work you do on a regular basis. Permeation is when a chemical dissolves in or moves through a material. Permeation breakthrough time should be longer than the typical wear time for the garment. Degradation can include discoloration, swelling, loss of physical strength, or deterioration of the fabric. Penetration happens when chemicals seep through zippers, seams, or imperfections in the material.
Safety is the #1 Priority
Handling dangerous chemicals immediately increases the risk of accidents in the workplace. It’s especially dangerous when some chemicals don’t directly show signs of interaction. You may not know the damage has been done until it’s too late. Wearing a chemical safety suit is one of the best ways to avoid harm to your staff. Following the above safety tips also helps to increase the effectiveness of such a suit. If you know that the suits are being worn, and being worn properly, you can rest easy knowing your staff is safe chemical splashes and spills.