Personal protection and safety measures

From Biomedhms
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Personal protection equipment (PPE) is all equipment used by an employee, during work, for protection against risks and dangers that may represent a threat to health or security for the individual.

Examples of PPE used in the laboratory are gloves, goggles/face protection, respirators, hearing protection, lab. coat and protective footwear.

Use of personal protection equipment

Use of PPE is based on risk assessment. When planning a project and experiments it must be natural that HMS safety considerations are to be taken into account, including use of personal protection equipment. PPE shall be used when safety or health of an employee is not adequately safeguarded by only use of technical installations at the workplace, for example through the use of a fume cupboard or security bench (see point 2 in this chap). PEE should also be considered if working methods/processes are altered.

It is the responsibility of the research group to ensure that PPE is at hand and that necessary instructive training is given. On the other hand it is the duty of the employee to use protective equipment when performing procedures that can potentially result in an increased risk of causing harm or injury.

Protective gloves

Protective gloves are found in many types, there are large differences in material, construction, comfort and area of use. The various materials differ in their ability to withstand various substances. There are no gloves that provide optimal protection for all types of working operations. It is therefore very important to choose the correct type of glove in order to achieve optimal protection for a specific operation. In some instances it can be advantageous to combine different types of gloves for optimal protection.

The choice of which type of glove should be used is based on the following criteria:

  • What type of exposure one is to be subjected to
  • What sort of work is to be carried out
  • What the glove shall protect against
  • How long the glove is to be used
  • What level of function the work is to be performed under

In order to make the choice of glove easier a glove guide has been compiled showing the penetration time for the most commonly used chemicals at UiB. Information on the different glove types Barrier, Sol-Vex, Neotop and PVA can be found here.

At UoB we try to avoid use of gloves made of natural rubber (latex) in order to avoid the possible development of latex allergy. Neither should one use vinyl gloves because they contain phthalates which can have a detrimental effect on reproduction, and in addition, during combustion chlorine gas can be released. When performing ordinary laboratory work the use of nitrile-gloves is recommended.

Eye protection

Goggles shall be used if your work, or someone working in the immediate vicinity, involved larger amounts of liquid and there is a change for spills.

If work with cytostatica is performed outside the fume compartment or safety bench safety goggles should also be used.

Respiratory protection

There are many different types of respiratory protection equipment, the choice depending on what it is to protect against.

Respiratory protection equipment provides safety against for example:

  • Dust and smoke
  • Gases and vapours
  • Aerosols
  • Biological factors

Which type of equipment is required is to be found in the MSDS of the substance in question.

A basic face mask is not regarded as respiratory protection equipment, but can prevent droplet infection and to a lesser extent provide safety from splashes, particulates and gases.

There are two main types of respiratory protection equipment; those that filter and those that are based on air-supply.

Filtering respiratory protection equipment
Can be used if a suitable filter is available and if the concentration of the polluting substance is not very high. Both half-masks and particle masks are the most common variants used at UoB. Whole masks with or without a hood are also in use. Particle masks are divided into three types - P1, P2 and P3, where P3 gives the highest level of protection. Type P2 is for use when working with experimental animals. There is also filtering respiratory protection equipment fitted with a gas filter, where different filters protect against various types of gas.
Air-supplied respiratory protection equipment
Rarely used at UiB. This type of equipment either contains a motor that produces under pressurised, such that air is sucked through the filter, or is attached to a compressed air tank that supplies fresh air.

Additional information in a folder from the Labour Inspection Department (Norwegian Only)

Hearing protection

Noise is sound that we perceive as particularly unpleasant or troublesome. Noise can damage hearing, but in addition lead to an increased level of stress, discomfort and pain, and even result in a high risk of developing heart disease, or disorders in the blood circulation.

Laboratory coat

When performing experimental work a laboratory coat is to be used to protect clothes and skin. You should remove your lab. coat when you leave the laboratory in order to prevent a risk of spreading contamination. Use coats made of cotton, since those made of synthetic material generate static electricity and can lead to serious burns if an accident should occur.

Protection ventilation

Protective ventilation means special ventilation installations primarily used for personal protection during work operations where there is a risk of exposure to harmful airborne substances.

There are several different types of ventilation systems, the common ones are:

  • Spot ventilation
  • Ventilation hood
  • Ventilated cabinet
  • Fume hood (cupboard)
  • Ventilation bench
  • Safety bench (class l,-II and-III)

Description of the most used / relevant ventilation installations (link to a pdf-file)

Factors affecting ventilation efficiency

In addition to construction and geometry of the installations, there are many additional factors that have an impact on the efficiency of ventilation:

  • Location in the room
  • Ventilation capacity (airflow)
  • Air supply
  • Automation
  • Balancing
  • User functions