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Chemical protective clothing (CPC) is a “last line of defense.” As such, proper selection and use are essential to the safety and health of the wearer.
A comprehensive approach to CPC selection and use should include at least eight key elements. They are: (1) assessing the need; (2) determination of the level and type of chemical and physical protection required through a hazard assessment of the proposed task; (3) proper selection based on the hazard assessment; (4) lab and field validation of the effectiveness of the selection; (5) establishment of reuse and decontamination guidelines; (6) worker and supervisory training in the use and limitations of the selected equipment; (7) establishment of a routine inspection, maintenance, and repair program; and (8) development of a management audit scheme to assure all elements of the CPC selection process are being properly followed.
Chemical protective clothing can be an effective hazard control measure; however, the protection provided will only be as efficacious as the quality of the methodology or program utilized for its proper selection, use, and maintenance.
chemical protective clothing, hazard assessment, selection, laboratory validation, field validation, decontamination, training, inspection program, audit scheme, performance criteria, protective clothing
President, S. Z. Mansdorf & Associates, Inc., Cuyahoga Falls, OH