Working safely with hazardous chemicals requires adherence to strict safety procedures. And the use of specially-designed protective equipment for chemical protection.
Before working with any chemicals, an assessment of the way in which the worker will interact with them will need to be made. For example, how hazardous are they? Will the worker be wading through chemicals, pouring them from a bottle into a test tube, or will particulates be in the air?
Depending on the hazardous nature of the chemical, appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) may need to be worn by staff. All such PPE will need to comply with regulations and be used in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Types of chemical protection PPE
Examples of PPE against chemicals include chemical suits, footwear, hand protection and eye protection.
For some hazardous situations, suits must be used in conjunction with gloves, boots, head/face protection and breathing apparatus.
Some suits, particularly gas tight or type 1, can be supplied with gloves and boots attached. Some variants allow the gloves and boots to be detachable while for other suits the gloves and boots are permanently attached.
What are chemicals?
Liquids, solids, gases, vapours, aerosols, fumes, dusts and fibres are chemical agents. They are called chemical agents to distinguish them from biological agents (such as micro-organisms) and physical agents (such as noise, vibration and friction).
All of these chemical agents can affect the human body in one way or another. Our hands are damaged after prolonged exposure to water, let alone acids and alkalis, etc. Protection is needed in the form of chemical protective suits, disposable suits, chemical protective gloves, respiratory equipment and other chemical protection clothing. This chemical protective equipment must fit properly, must be worn correctly and be well maintained.