Many chemicals commonly used in industry processes may be dangerous for the worker who handle them. The aim is to protect the user exposed to chemical agents and, for this reason, an accurate analysis of the environment in which the work is carried out is required, in addition to the risks to which the employee is exposed when in presence of such substances. It is necessary to focus the attention on the dangerousness of the substances present in the working environment and assess their toxicity and aggressiveness, defining the nature of the hazard, whether chemical, biological or physical, as well as assessing the frequency and level of the operator’s exposure to the hazardous substances (concentration in preparations and in air), thus outlining the specific risk related to the task. Contaminants, which are associated to chemical or ionising radiation hazards, can be found in gaseous (gas and/or vapour), liquid (high-pressure jet and/or spray) and solid state (dust, fibres, fumes, mists), whereas biological contaminants can be bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and other microorganisms.
The contact and subsequent contamination of the operator may occur in three ways: by contact with the skin and/or mucous membranes of the eyes, by inhalation or swallowing, subjecting the operator to risks of various kinds, of greater or lesser importance, which can be resolved or become irreversible.
Chemical protective clothing can be classified according to their characteristics, for example the material, which determines the durability and divides these garments into:
According to EU Directive 2016/425, any personal protective equipment must carry the CE label for one of the three following categories:
What stated above indicated that the choice of a P.P.E. for chemical protection carries many issues, so we suggest to take into account some parameters that are briefly summarized below. The starting point for a correct choice remains, as established by the current regulations, the risk assessment which in this case is concretized in recognizing the chemical substances with which the operator could come into contact and in an analysis of their chemical/physical characteristics, which can be inferred from the technical data sheets that come with our articles.
Once established the chemical substances present in the work environment, it is possible to select the material the most suitable for protection, taking into account its permeation times; at the same time, it is necessary to take into consideration what type of clothing is needed according to the type of operation to be carried out and the duration of use. Whatever type of clothing is chosen, it is necessary to bear in mind that its effectiveness always depends on the correct use of the garment: it is therefore essential to read carefully, before use, the information note and to train personnel for correct dressing as well as correct use, throughout the entire period of work.