Personal Protective Equipment in Hazardous Spills Cleanup
Personal protective equipment is anything you wear to prevent exposure to a hazardous substance. Whenever you come in contact with a hazardous spill personal protective equipment needs to be used. Personal protective equipment can be as simple as a pair of gloves or as complex as a fully-encapsulating, chemical-protective suit. The equipment is grouped into four levels... A, B, C and D based on how much protection the equipment provides.
Level D is the least level of protection and is worn by employees who do not come close to the spill. Level D equipment does not provide respiratory protection or protection against corrosive materials. It does, however provide limited protection again injury. Some of the equipment used in the level D are coveralls and hard hat, cloth or rubber work gloves, boots with steel toes and safety glasses or chemical splash goggles.
Level C provides a great deal more protection than Level C. When a spill involves chemicals that are a significantly more serious. This level of protection should be worn by employees who will work closely with a released substance that has a skin or respiratory hazard. The equipment used includes all the equipment from level D with the addition of a chemical splash suit with a hood and an air-purifying respirator.
Level B equipment is used in situations where skin and respiratory hazards are present but where the air is too contaminated to be filtered by an air-purifying respirator. This level of equipment includes an air-supplying respirator to protect employees from contaminated air.
Level A equipment is used in extreme situations where the employee must be completely isolated from the outside air. The equipment required is the same as level B plus a totally-encapsulating chemical protection suit. This suit combined with the air-supplying respirator provides the maximum possible protection.
Whatever level of personal protection equipment your situation requires it is critical that you know when to use the equipment and exactly what the equipment protects you from. It could save you from death or injury and help you protect your facility and the people in it from hazardous spills.
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