Jamie: Hello, and a warm welcome to everybody. We would like to wish everyone a good morning, a good afternoon, or a good evening, depending on where you are in the world today. My name is Jamie, and I’m one of the co-founders of Safeopedia.
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Today we’re proud to present Are Workplace Hazards Coming Home with You? This Safeopedia webinar has been made possible by DuPont Personal Protection, a valued member of SafetyNetwork.me. Whether you wear, sell, manufacture safety equipment, SafetyNetwork.me is for you. It’s your personal safety community and resource center with partners consisting of the best safety equipment manufacturers and distributors on the planet.
It is now my pleasure to introduce to you today’s presenter, Damien Hammond. Damien has over 20 years of experience providing environmental health and safety services. In less than three years, his firm has grown to over 20 employees with operations in five states and has worked with clients including the U.S. Department of State, FBI, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Not only does Damien possess a broad knowledge of environmental regulatory compliance requirement, he has a strong educational foundation as well with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of the District of Columbia and a Master of Science in Environmental Sciences and Public Policy from George Mason University.
He has served as the President of the American Industrial Hygiene Association in Potomac, Board member for the Campagna Center, a Human Rights Commissioner for the City of Alexandria, and a subject matter expert for the U.S. Black Congressional Caucus and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
I now invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the presentation. With that, Damien, please take it away.
Damien: Good afternoon. Today, we’ll be discussing Are Workplace Hazards Going Home with You? Stopping the Spread of Take-home Toxins.
Just a quick agenda to give you an idea of the focus of this presentation. I’ll give you a brief introduction of myself, we’ll discuss and define what take-home toxins are and what are the issues they create. We’ll discuss regulations and guidelines. We’ll also talk about general industry standards with personal protective equipment and practices in addition to selecting proper personal protective equipment. We’ll be discussing different types of fabrics and technologies used in coveralls. We’ll also talk about the Tyvek DuPont difference. We will also talk about other selection tools that DuPont has to aid end-users in selecting appropriate levels of personal protective equipment.
Hopping directly into the presentation, we just want to define what take-home toxins are, so we all have an understanding of that. Workers can unknowingly bring home hazardous stuff on their clothing, shoes, skills, and the interior of vehicles. These unknown substances we call “take-home toxins.”
These take-home toxins can put workers and family members at risk without your knowledge. They can be transferred onto some clothing, on the furniture, they can make their way into the laundry, and they can be circulated around the house through person-to-person contact and through just the air-handling system if a sufficient amount of material is brought home.
Some of the health impacts or health effects of take-home toxins are very important to note. They can have acute health symptoms, or they can have chronic or persistent health symptoms. An exposure or common example of one that is a chronic issue would be exposure to asbestos. Exposure to asbestos fibers typically shows health effects years down the line, meaning it could be 30 years down the line after exposure. Something that’s more acute could be something like sodium hydroxide or lead. With sodium hydroxide, it can immediately show thermal burns and with lead, it could lead to all sorts of issues that we’ll talk about a little bit later in the program.
Take-home toxins can come from a wide variety of places. They can be a lot of different things. Many of us associate a lot of toxins with dirty jobs. These are different things like animal wastes, fiberglass, infectious agents or heavy metals, even ranging all the way to pesticides, and different things like opioids and prescription drugs with active pharmaceutical ingredients.
These take-home toxins can be encountered in a variety of different verticals, ranging anywhere from agriculture, construction, manufacturing, public service, and remediation. Shipbuilding is also a big one when it comes to dealing with lead, asbestos, and different things of that nature.
Three of the most common take-home toxins that we deal with in the abatement, construction, and remediation vertical are asbestos, lead, and mold. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that’s used in a variety of textiles and materials. Prior to 1980s, it was in a multitude of building products. It was used for its low cost, its high tensile strength, its insulating properties, and its fire resistance. I think fire resistance was one of the biggest drivers in asbestos being used.
Those fibers, when disturbed during remediation or abatement, can be produced and be disturbed, and become airborne. Those small fibres can be swallowed or they can be inhaled into the respiratory system, which can lead to a myriad of long gastrointestinal issues down the line. Typically, it’s somewhere around 20 to 30 years when you start seeing the health effects of asbestos fibre exposure.
Another common take-home toxin that we deal with is lead. Lead is also used in a wide variety of compounds around the home ranging from paint, ceramics, different pipes, plumbing materials, and solders. Gasoline was leaded until the late 70s/early 80s and that was a big air quality issue; batteries, ammunition, and cosmetics. A lot of concern was brought up about lead with materials coming from other countries, mainly China, and toys that cause a lot of issues when children would eat those or ingest the lead and it would cause issues with organs down the line. Those effects can be acute or chronic depending on the level of exposure that you get. I’m going to tell a story a little bit later about lead and having to get an idea of how it works or what it does.
The third take-home toxin is really important and it’s really an emerging issue is mold. Mold is a type of fungi that is ubiquitous. It’s indoors, it’s outdoors, and it’s a very important part of life because it helps break down organic matter. These mold spores or mold fragments can be ingested and it can also be breathed in and cause a lot of problems just depending on what personal susceptibility they have to being exposed to that particular mold or just a concentration of molds that they’re exposed to and there are a lot of different types of molds. The common indoor molds are Penicillium, Cladosporium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus.
Why do we need PPE? I think that’s the biggest part of why we’re sitting here and having this conversation. Well, those hazardous particulates that become disturbed during remediation and abatement are very important because they settle on clothing and you’re also being exposed to them. We talked about asbestos, you know, it can take 30 to 40 years – sometimes 20 just depending on the level of exposure and your personal susceptibility – before those symptoms start to show whether its lung cancer, mesothelioma, or other forms of cancer.
Lead is the same way. It causes a lot of neurological and gastrointestinal issues. It also has effects on the reproductive system and also the renal system. When talking about lead, it’s important to note that it’s very heavy. It’s not like asbestos fibers. It is commonly taken out of the working area because some of the engineering controls might not be as robust as they are with asbestos.
A common example of that – one story that I like to tell is we had a client that did abrasive blasting as the removal of lead-based paint from structures, whether it’s a storage tank, or building, a bridge, whatever the case may be. We had a guy that was at the point of the nozzle, he was doing the abatement. He wasn’t necessarily following the engineering controls and the personal protective requirements that were in place. He was actually required to wear protective garment, which was what he was doing, but he was also wearing boots and the boots were supposed to be left on the job site.
Well, it turns out his son fell really ill and they couldn’t figure out what the problem was. It turns out that he’s being exposed to lead. Now, this individual was only on the job site for a couple of weeks and no one can really understand what was going on. Well, it turns out that his lead levels were beyond the point of methylation and his father was actually taking the lead home from the job site on his boots. So, we did a study, we swabbed his car, his home, the inside of his washing machine and they were all positive for significant concentrations of lead. We even found significant concentrations of lead on the baby’s car seat.
So just having a basic understanding of the importance of selecting PPE can have very large impacts when it comes to protecting your family and not necessarily taking these take-home toxins home with you. It’s also important to keep in mind that the greatest risk or health effects are inefficient or weakened immune systems, allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions, as well as infants, elderly people, and pregnant women. So please be aware of toxins you’re dealing with and the PPE and engineering controls designed to keep those toxins inside of the work area and not going home with you.
Routes of entry are important when it comes to take-home toxins. There are mainly two in regard to take-home toxins. There’s also a third, injection, which typically doesn’t happen unless you’re having something sort of sharp puncture a person, but that’s usually exposure for the person that’s there, not necessarily a toxin that’s going home.
Inhalation hazards, that’s controlled by respiratory protection and other engineering controls whether it’s an air scrubber or an air filtration system inside of the work area. Those are important as well because they cut down on the number of fibers or particles in the air that have the ability to impact the worker, whether it sticks into their clothing, or stick into their skin, and to be brought out of the work area.
The other route of exposure would be contact hazards. This is best controlled by PPE and critical barriers, so selecting the right PPE to protect the worker is important, but it’s also important to select the right method of controlling the hazard and keeping it inside whether you’re using polyethylene sheeting to create a containment, it’s important to understand the hazard that you’re dealing with and the appropriate level of PPE for the person. That can be done by conducting an exposure assessment.
Depending on what your exposure is – there can be many types of exposure. There can be just literally exposure to the leg, to the feet, to the arms, to the torso, but it’s important to pick the garment that works best for your application. Whether it’s a lab coat, a full coverall, or a frock, knowing what the exposure is and knowing where it is will help you protect yourself and your families.
Just to give you an idea of the importance of the type of clothing when it comes to dermal exposure, dermal exposure to chemicals in the workplace is a significant problem in the United States. Recordable skin injuries are roughly 2.6 injuries per 10,000 employees. When it comes to respiratory illness, it’s usually 1.4 injuries to 10,000 employees.
In many cases, skin is a more significant route of exposure than lung exposure. However, people tend to hear about the respiratory exposures far more than they do the dermal exposures because of the acute effects that the respiratory exposures may have. Typically, you can have dermatitis, burn your hand with something, and that’s not going to make the news. If you have a gas leak or something to that effect, and people breathe something in and it goes directly to their bloodstream, that causes a more acute exposure and that has a tendency to harm more people than and has the tendency to get more attention in today’s media cycles.
It’s important to know that OSHA has mandated a hierarchy of exposure control. We’re on the phone today discussing today PPE as our primary function or focus of this call, however it’s important to understand that there’s a hierarchy of exposure. In this triangle, typically what you want to do is you want to substitute. You want to try to pick the least hazardous material to deal with. If you can’t do that, you want to develop different types of engineering controls to engineer the hazard out, whether it’s having some remote computer or remote robot do the work or doing the work in a controlled setting to minimize the exposures to the human that’s actually doing the work.
You ought to also have workplace practices whether it’s substitution or not exposing someone to a hazard longer than they need to be exposed. Then, you have the fourth part of that pyramid, which is personal protective equipment, and that’s why we’re here today. PPE is the last line of defense. Typically, you want to try to substitute or engineer a hazard out before you go to PPE, but doing any abatement and remediation field, PPE is very important because you’re typically working inside of the enclosure, which is your engineering control and PPE is important in doing so. You want to make sure you consider clothing, hand protection, eye protection, foot protection, hearing protection, and definitely respiratory protection.
Evaluating each hazard is important and you need to understand what you’re dealing with by conducting a hazard risk assessment or a job hazard assessment. First, you want to understand the process and understand specifically what you’re doing. Then, you want to determine what the hazards are and what happens when you do whatever task you’re doing. So, if you’re dealing with asbestos, you understand that asbestos is respirable and it can become airborne. Once you’re dealing with that, what do you do with an airborne hazard like asbestos fibers? How do you protect yourself from them, airborne asbestos fibers?
You also want to observe the work practices and environmental condition. You want to understand if it’s overhead work, if it’s work where your workers are laying on the ground, if they’re crawling through crawl spaces. You want to understand what they’re doing and what those actions would do to the personal protective equipment that they’re wearing. The last thing you want to do is have coverall failure, or equipment failure, or environmental conditions that not necessarily encourage, but lead to workers using less personal protective equipment. Say, for instance, with thermal comfort, we deal with that asbestos and lead arenas where people would wear less or do less to deal with the thermal hazards simply because the use of personal protective equipment might not breathe as much as they would like.
You also want to determine the level, duration, and frequency of exposures. So, whatever your hazard is, whether it’s lead or asbestos, or sodium hydroxide, or some other chemical, you want to make sure that you’re selecting a garment that provides the appropriate level of protection for the duration of your exposure.
Say, for example, you’re dealing, say, ammonia for something that’s pretty nasty. You want to make sure you select the fabric that is rated or tested to be a sufficient barrier for ammonia, for the amount of time that you expect to be there. If you expect to be in a storage tank for 30 mins with residual ammonia in it, you want to make sure that your garment gives you more than 30 mins of exposure and that your garment is covering your body in the appropriate area so that there are no areas that are not exposed.
Next, you want to determine engineering, administrative, and PPE controls being utilized. You always want to engineer out your hazard. You always want to minimize the exposure that you work with or being exposed to while you’re conducting a task, whether it’s setting up engineering controls like air filters or different types of scrubbers to make sure that although the hazard is in the air, it’s being minimized.
You want to make sure you do different administrative functions, like the noise is so loud that it’s easier to have people go in and out or that the thermal stress is so much that you can only work there for 30 minutes. You don’t want the same person in there for four hours when you can have four different people in there for an hour a piece. It’s just minimizing the amount of exposure to that hazard for each individual employee.
You also want to evaluate the frequency, the adequacy and effectiveness of the engineering controls being used, whether it’s using a Magnehelic or smoke tubes, or something like that, to check pressure or airflow, you want to make sure it’s efficient in trying to pull those hazards away from the worker. You also might want to consider different filter types, different things of that nature just to be sure that exposures are being minimized.
Then, you always want to reevaluate opportunities to improve controls to further reduce risk. So, it’s never wrong to do after action investigation, after action items and trying to figure if there are better ways to do what we’re doing. Many times, in the industry, what I find is people are more concerned with getting things done the way that it’s always been done. In this day and age of technology and innovation, there are always ways to improve on everything. So just being always open-minded to try different processes and different engineering controls to minimize risk and exposure to work.
From a regulatory standpoint, it’s important to understand that OSHA has established several different regulations to work protection when it comes to hazardous substances we will call take-home toxins. As you can see on the screen here, whether it’s general industry, construction, or shipyard standard, they’re all there and they all have some sort of guidance as to how to protect workers. Some of them are performance standards where they don’t tell you how to do it. They just tell you that you must reach a certain point. Some of them are design standards where they say, “You must say A, B, C to get to point D.” Based on the toxin that you’re dealing with, it’s important to understand what type of regulation you have and how you can move within those regulations to best protect your workers and to keep the toxins inside the workspace as opposed to migrating outside of the workspace.
Going back to the three primary hazards that we talked about of take-home toxins, we talked about asbestos and lead are the two largest ones that we deal with in remediation and abatement. Both of them are very important and very interesting because they say different things.
The asbestos standard, it is packed with different engineering controls and design standards to make sure that type of asbestos fibers stay in the work area. Asbestos's, generally, biggest hazard to humans would be the inhalation side of it. There’s definitely some ingestion that occurs and that definitely causes problems, but the primary focus would be inhalation. As you’ll see in the asbestos standard, whichever one you’re reading, whether it’s general industry, shipyard, or construction, respiratory protection is important.
PPE or coveralls are not necessarily focused on, which they should be. It’s kind of one of my pet peeves. It’s the fact that with the asbestos standard and the lead standard, it doesn’t specify the level of protection that a garment should provide. It just simply says “a coverall.” That’s important because when it comes to interpretation in conducting your hazard assessment, you need to understand that not all coveralls are going to provide the same level of protection. As we go a little bit further in this presentation, I’m going to show that it’s very easy to comply with the regulatory standards, however not provide an adequate level of protection and still leave the door open to take toxins home where they can have negative health effects to family members.
Mold is really different. It’s one of those emerging hazards that is not necessarily catching people off guard, but is actually kind of the wild, wild West at this point. Right now, there are no federal laws that set permissible exposure limits or building tolerance standards for Mold. However, regulatory organizations such as OSHA, EPA, CDC, and many states have come up with guidance as to how to deal with these when you’re doing abatement or different things of that nature.
The difference between asbestos and lead in one category versus mold is that mold is mainly based on personal susceptibility. It’s almost like the amount of medicine you take. Some people can take a medicine and not feel it, other people can take the same dosage and feel a lot of effects from it. It all is just based from personal susceptibility. So, from my experience, it’s been hard for regulators to come up with federal regulations or coherent standards because of the personal susceptibility associated with it. However, that being said, it’s very important to understand that mold has the potential to be just as dangerous as lead and asbestos to people who are personally susceptible for it or with someone who has a compromised immune system, someone who’s pregnant, or just someone who is susceptible to it. It needs to be taken seriously and protections need to be put in place to keep it where it is and to not have it spread out into the environment.
Although there are no federal regulations on this, OSHA has cited employers under the General Duty Clause of the 1970 OSHA act—basically, what it says is employers must protect employees from things that they understand could have reasonable harm. It’s open for interpretation. Section 5(a) is the catch-all for a lot of these things that they don’t have regulations for but dealing with mold is just very important that it should be taken seriously and not necessarily be taken lightly because it’s mold and it’s not regulated.
When you’re selecting PPE, you want to have a couple of considerations in place. It’s important to consider, primarily, or I think first, worker protection. In that worker protection, you want to make sure that the material provides the appropriate level of protection. So, you want to make sure that if they’re dealing with hazardous particulate, the garment is rated for hazardous particulate. If they’re dealing with hazardous chemicals, the garment is ready for hazardous chemicals. I think a lot of people believe that if they have a coverall on, they’re protected. It’s much deeper than that and it’s important to understand that when you’re conducting your job hazards assessment.
You also want to talk about material durability and protection. You’re crawling around on the floor, you’re moving through crawlspaces, if you’re climbing ladders. You want to make sure that you’re selecting the appropriate garment to make sure that the material is durable enough to deal with what you’re dealing with, and there won’t be a garment failure doing this operation, which will expose your worker.
You also want to consider worker comfort. That’s probably one of the least that you should consider, unfortunately, given some of the exposures and some of the chemicals that we’re dealing with. Then, cost. Unfortunately, cost should be—it should be taken lastly or considered lastly, but in the abatement and remediation space, it’s typically one of the first things that people pay attention to. It’s common to select the inappropriate level of protection for the hazard in place simply for cost and then worker comfort also comes into play.
Inadequately selected PPE could lead to a lot of contamination and it’s important to know that prior to starting the job. That’s definitely something to keep in mind. Once you have a failure of your garment, you know there are engineering controls in place to decontaminate the person, but you have the clothing the person underneath that might not completely decontaminated and they take those take-home toxins home, in their cars, on their clothing. You can imagine having clothing – typically, in my house, we just throw every in the same basket all the time. We just throw a lot of our clothing in the same area and it’s all washed in the same washing machine, and things of that nature.
If you’re dealing with something like asbestos, and your employer is laundering clothing on the job site, that’s definitely a good practice to engage in. Simple things like leaving your boots at work go a long way. A lot of people don’t consider that there’s a lot of heavy metal and pesticide contamination in soils.
You might not be able to see the heavy metals in the soils on your boots, but you’re wearing your boots home, you’re contaminating the car, been walking around the house – I have a one-year-old, so I’m always conscious of their hands, and mouths, and necks. The biggest issue that you’re dealing with, with exposure is ingestion exposure when it comes to things like heavy metals like lead and even pesticides, so that’s something definitely to consider. You just want to make sure that you’re not taking things home and just selecting the appropriate garment.
Are all white suits created equal? They’re not. I’m sure many people, when they see a white suit, they immediately think Tyvek. Not all white suits. A Tyvek is a DuPont product. In my opinion, it’s a gold standard. As I’ve shown in the presentation, you can have white suites where the technology is different and they’re not Tyvek. I go to job sites quite frequently where the GC will spec in a Tyvek. You go there and it’s not a Tyvek. It’s not even flashspun polyethylene, it’s spunbond polyethylene as you’ll see a little bit later in the presentation. The protection levels are nowhere near close to each other. One should never be used with hazardous particulates.
Selecting protective garments is very important. There a few different types of technologies to be considered. Each type has its own application that it’s suitable for. Just because it’s suitable for one application, doesn’t mean that it’s suitable for another, so that’s something to consider. A lot of times in the abatement and remediation space, people will select a garment and it will only be rated for hazardous particulates, it won’t be rated for liquids. However, there will be some liquid exposure and that creates problems because you’re not providing a sufficient level of protection for the worker. Doing a job hazard analysis and selecting the right garment is very important.
Just giving you the primary four technologies from top to bottom. The highest level of protection, in my opinion, is the high-density polyethylene. That’s where we have flashspun and Tyvek. Basically, these entangled fibers create what we call a torturous pore, which prevents particles and fibers from infiltrating and contaminating the wearer.
The next level is what is called microporous film. That’s in a product that DuPont sells called ProShield. Basically, what that is a bi-laminate fabric with a thin microporous film, and spunbonded polypropylene non-woven. It’s a nice technology. As you can see, the magnified images of it – at the top you see the Tyvek. The magnified image is very tight and thick, it’s very difficult for things to go through. However, with a microporous film, it does have a layer, but that layer has pores in it and it creates situations where you can have materials migrate through. In addition to that, those microporous layers are typically very thin and light scratches will degrade the protection that you have, so it’s not as durable as something like Tyvek.
Moving further down the line, you get into spunbond/meltblown/spunbonded polypropylene. Basically, this is another product that we have. It’s called ProShield as well, but it’s a tri-laminate instead of a bi-laminate. The same kind of protection, but it has a different function. It’s used for a different application.
Down at the bottom, which is commonly used in the abatement industry for cost and for comfort is spunbond polypropylene. As you can see, the fibers are very loose and very open. What happens is the barrier of protection is not very sufficient, so a lot of asbestos sites you go to, contractors will use this particular garment. It’s a coverall, it meets the regulation, however it’s not very durable and, as you can see on the next slide, you can see through it. The human eye can, basically, see 40 to 60 microns, that’s debatable, but with things like asbestos and lead, particles’ 5 micron and will definitely get down into the lower reaches of your lungs and cause a lot of problems.
So, this particular technology, although has its uses, it’s definitely not sufficient, in my opinion, for abatement and remediation, dealing with hazardous particulate. It’s easily damaged and, as you can see, it doesn’t provide much protection because you can see his clothes underneath. If you can see his clothes underneath, it’s highly likely that airflow is maybe hazardous particulates through and depositing on his clothing.
The next one is SMS fabric. This is the tri-laminate we talked about. As you can see it’s three layers, it’s spunbond – two spunbond layers beneath the meltblown layer. Definitely provides protection, but it’s not going to give you the best level of protection for dealing with hazardous particulate. This is just one step up from the spunbond polypropylene.
The next one is the microporous film. As you can see, the film layer is the sole source of protection for microporous film garments. The film layer can be easily abraded or worn away. Barrier protection is lost once the film is damaged. In many instances, I think people use this particular garment in the abatement industry. I’m sure you’re aware of climbing through containments or climbing up ladders, and different things of that nature. This layer tears and rips very easily. I’ve seen people tear suits before they can even get inside the containment. It’s the same thing with the spunbond polypropylene. I’ve seen people tear this without putting it on. So that’s very important when you’re considering the level of protection that you’re looking for.
Why DuPont Tyvek? Because Tyvek is high-density polyethylene. It’s flashspun and bonded using heat and pressure. Its continuous filaments formed into a sheet with randomly distributed fibers and they’re non-directional. It’s also provided with an anti-static treatment to reduce nuisance static and it’s only made by DuPont.
If you look down at the microscope shot, you can see how thick the material is comparing it to the other materials. It has some pores and it is breathable, but it’s what we call a torturous pore. If a hazardous particulate was trying to make its way through the garment, it likely wouldn’t be able to do it because it’s not going to turn direction and move in that manner.
In addition to that, it’s highly durable. I cleaned out nuclear power plants. I’ve cleaned incinerators. I’ve dealt with bioweapons. I’ve dealt with a lot of different things that Tyvek and the DuPont line of personal protective products provide the most appropriate level of protection. I can definitely say I don’t use anything else besides DuPont for those. That’s not just because I work for DuPont. I’ve been in this field for a very long time and I have enough time to deal with other products and, hands down, this is what I personally prefer.
Just giving you an idea of the attributes and the comparison of these four technologies that we talked about. If you look at the top, Tyvek, it has some high ratings, mostly excellent and fair with a lot of different things. It beats all of the other technologies quite considerably when it comes to dealing with different types of hazards whether it’s particulate and some liquid exposure. It just all depends on what type of garment you’re dealing with, but durability, comfort, it definitely is a superior product, in my opinion.
Just getting a little bit further into it and talking about a little bit more – I know in the abatement and remediation space, we don’t necessarily use Tychem products, but when you’re dealing with more liquid chemicals and you need more protection, which is what a barrier to hazardous particulate would be that the Tyvek would give you, we move them to the Tychem line. The Tychem 2,000, which is the yellow suit, which people used to call it QC. it provides another step up against chemicals.
As you move higher with the barriers, whether it’s Tychem 4,000 or Tychem 10,000, those garments become more durable and become more resistant to a larger number of challenged particulates, so something to consider if you’re dealing with chemicals. I know in the asbestos abatement arena, there’s a lot of sprays and liquids that are used to clean out mastics, and different things of that nature. Well, come of them have organics in them. The white suit or the garment that you’re using doesn’t necessarily provide that chemical protection. If you’re looking for that chemical protection, you’d be able to look to other Tychem products and be able to supplement the hazardous particulate there that you’re looking for.
As for protective line for DuPont, it just kind of steps up the scale here. We go from nine hazardous particulates and aerosols, that’s in the ProShield area, and it just kind of gets a little bit higher. When you start dealing with – you have nine hazardous particulates, you can use less robust barriers, but sometimes you need something like ProShield. ProShield can be used to protect the worker or protecting the environment whether it’s a clean room setting or whether it’s some sort of setting where you’re trying to, not necessarily protect the worker, but protect the product, those products work.
When you start moving up a little bit further and you get into the hazardous particulate and you start moving into Tyvek. Then, when you get into the chemical exposure, liquid, and different things of that nature, then it starts moving up to the Tychem model. As you could see here, it just gives different levels of protection across the DuPont product offering line.
What do we need to understand? What hazardous particulates and chemicals are workers exposed to? Definitely important. What operations will be conducted? What areas of the body are expected to receive exposure? How much exposure is expected? You definitely want to consider if you’re taking out high ventilation above your head, you want to definitely find something with a hood. You definitely want to find something that closes, so that those fibers and different things aren’t falling down in front of your coverall. You want to pick a coverall instead of a lab coat, but you need to understand those things.
You also want to understand what environmental factors may potentially affect the type of apparel, whether it’s heat, whether it’s fire concerns, whether it’s animal activities, insect, those things are definitely important in conducting a job hazard assessment.
You also want to know when the last time a hazards test was conducted. When I first got started out as a technician, I had a chemical burn and I didn’t really understand – I had a CIH that was doing work for me and I just was following instructions. It turned out there was a product change and no one stopped to do a hazard assessment, and I was subsequently burned. Thankfully, it wasn’t a big thing, but understanding process changes, and consistently and regularly doing hazard assessments is important to understand what you’re dealing with and preventing worker injury.
Here’s a garment decision tree that we use quite a bit. I’m not going to take too much time to go into it, but basically you want to understand that you need to have a barrier that provides protection against hazardous particulate, if it’s hazardous liquid. If there are fire hazards that come from that, then you’d also need to select the garment that can deal with the fire hazard. A lot of these suits are polyethylene, but polyethylene is just plastic. If you’re in an environment where there’s a fire, you’re literally just a flaming marshmallow, so you definitely want to make sure that you select something that is appropriate for that application and will provide a level of protection.
Resources that you can use. DuPont has an online product selector tool called SafeSPEC.com. SafeSPEC is great because it’s very interactive and very user-friendly and it allows the user to select the garment, whether it’s focusing on the fabric or the brand. You also want to consider the design of the fabric. Does it have a hood? Does it not? Is it a lab coat? Is it a frock?
What’s also missed in the abatement industry is the seam design. Seam is important because depending on the hazard you have, you don’t want to have a seam that allows something to come in that can be a weak part of the garment. So, whether you’re dealing with liquids, you just want to make sure that you have a seam that’s resistant to liquid. If you have something that’s not very fluid, then you can maybe pick a seam that’s less robust. That’s also important.
Then, you want to talk about the different certifications. Whether it’s an FPA, or if it’s fire-rated, or different things of that nature, you want to understand what the garment is, what level of protection it provides for every hazard you might encounter. This database also can help you do that. In addition to that, this database has a lot of information about accessories. There is different literature, and videos, and technical manuals that help you.
One of the biggest parts of the database is the chemical resistance aspect of it. You can literally type in a chemical and it will provide you a fabric in addition to how robust that fabric is in regard to the challenged chemical. It will tell you if they can hold out a chemical for one minute, if they can hold out a chemical for 480 minutes. That’s important when you’re talking about the exposure and how you deal with it. The link to it is a little bit lower here and we can go to the next slide to kind of show you a little bit.
It’s pretty user-friendly. We just had a revamp of it, so a lot of people are really just getting used to it, but you can search it in a couple of different ways. Usually, you want “Chemical Protection & Clean Room.” You can go into that as well. There’s also a section for fire hazards, whether it’s an arc flash or different fire issues you might run into. Then, there’s also a cut protection aspect that will give you information about gloves, different things like that, that are products that DuPont offers.
When you go into the Hazard Selector tool, you can select many different things. Typically, you can search by the product or you can search by the hazard. If you have an idea of what product you’re using or—we even have a what’s called a cross-over guide that’s in here. You have a competitor’s garment and you want to figure out what DuPont offers that’s similar, you can go to SafeSPEC and find the cross-over garment and it will show you what we offer, and likely show you something that the other garment doesn’t do or a level of protection they may not provide.
You can also search by hazards. If you click “By Hazards,” it will take you to a screen where they’ll ask you, “Do you want to just enter the regular chemical name?” “Do you want to just do an industry-wide,” say, you want to go into the oil and gas industry, or in the agricultural, or pharmaceutical industry, this particular setting we have it set so that there are general applications in these industries or chemicals that people come in contact with and it will give you a suite that you can pick from and select that are typical to that industry. I personally just go to the hazard page because I like to enter the individual chemicals in, you can do, I think, five or six at a time, and doing analysis to determine what fabric is the most appropriate for a barrier against that particular chemical.
It also has a lot of other attributes. There’s the “My Scenarios” page, you can actually save your information. When you’re going back to do that periodic review of those processes, it will save those scenarios and it will populate what you were previously using and show you the chemicals that were previously selecting. If something has changed, you can see that and use it as a reference. Once you log in, it will give you a lot of different disclaimers, making sure you understand important things like the state of chemicals, whether it’s a liquid, whether it’s a solid, whether it’s a gas, all those things are important when trying to select and these agreements and disclosure help you along your process in selecting the garment.
This is the “Chemical Resistance” tab. You, typically, would type in the chemical that you’re dealing with, you would add it to the list, and it would give you CAS number or you can enter the CAS number as well, it gives you an option there. Then you hit “next” and it would pop up and say, “No permeation data available for this chemical,” because asbestos is a hazardous particulate, so it’s not going to permeate like liquid or a gas would. However, we do have information here because it’s a hazardous particulate.
At this point, it will walk you through doing the assessment. It will ask you to go through that decision tree we talked about earlier, asking questions about fire hazards, are there other materials expected to be used, are you expecting the exposure to be light, moderate, or heavy, and then they’re asking what direction are you expecting the exposure from. Type all that information in, and then it will pop up and show you what DuPont’s considerations are for dealing with that hazard.
For this particular hazard, we’re talking about asbestos. It pops up the Tyvek 400 model. It will have different versions of it as well. You pick different seams, if you have foot covers or not, if you have elastic wrists, if there’s a hood or not. All of that information would be here, and you can select it and click the appropriate garment for your application.
SafeSPEC is also available online – sorry, we have an app for it that you can download, it’s free. You only need to register with your email account and it will save that information, and you can have this information wherever you go. If you’re not near your computer and you need to do a quick assessment, you can type information in, and it will provide you a garment with the appropriate level of protection.
In summary, SafeSPEC was just built on knowledge that came from direct and indirect actions of garment wearers and people that order garments and uses one of the largest chemical business databases in the industry. It’s designed for all users. It provides in-depth product information and full-color garment images. It has the ability to search five hazards at a time. The important part, it’s free and it’s also a mobile app that can be accessed anywhere.
DuPont also has a handy hazard matrix. You can find this information on SafeSPEC as well, but it’s also a literature that we have that literally breaks down different types of hazards across the board and it compares the offerings that DuPont has. Whether you’re looking for something like pesticides, or fertilizers, or sewage, you can use this cross-reference guide to determine what garment may be sufficient for that application.
DuPont does offer job hazards assessment. We have myself and another CIH who travel to countries, going to plants in different sites doing assessments where, if you order enough material from DuPont, we’ll come to the site. We’ll evaluate your operation and we’ll give you a report with considerations for improvement if they’re needed that, basically, provide guidance on the particular apparel that you’re using and provide considerations for improvement. If you’re using spunbond polypropylene, you should likely be using Tyvek, that’s something that will be included in. We’ve had great success with that being offered to our clients as a value-added service.
At this point, I’d like to thank you for your time and turn it over to any questions that anyone may have.
Jamie: Great. Thank you, Damien. Very informative and very robust tool, SafeSPEC, especially if they can have it on site with you.
Yeah. We’ve got quite a few questions coming in. Let’s get started.
Theresa has a question. She’s saying, “Can you comment on how to create a decontamination room or space so that workers can effectively remove the PPE so that the street clothing underneath does not become contaminated? Likewise, can you comment on how to create a facility to store reusable PPE on the work site and to keep contamination carryover away from workers while not engaged in hazardous tasks? For example, locking pathology lab coats in the hallway. Thanks.”
Damien: Oh, wow. That’s a heavy question – a lot of aspects to that. Well, a lot of the regulations specify, and it’s typically an industry standard, to do a three-chamber decontamination. It all depends on the hazards that you’re dealing with. Something like lead, you can decontaminate with a HEPA vacuum. Then, do a gross decon with a HEPA vacuum and then take your coveralls off. You can choose to shower on site, you could go to shower facilities, or you can not wear the same clothing that you wear under your garment in storage somewhere. You can have laundry facilities and laundry schedules, and different things of that nature. It all just depends on the hazards that you’re dealing with.
I think each industry has best practices that they use in addition to regulations that they use that you likely want to look at to determine what’s the most appropriate way to do it. Depending on the job site and the hazards that can be quite of difficult to answer specifically. I would just, say, consider the three-chamber decon and leaving anything that might potentially be contaminated on the site and not to take it home with you. Likely, having changing facilities where you come in a pair clothing on the clean side, leaving your clothing there, walking to the dirty side, putting on your dirty clothing, going to the job site, coming back, leaving your clothing on the dirty side, showering, and then putting your clothing on and going home.
Jamie: Great. Thanks, Damien. Sara has a question here. “Really great stories. Are there regulations for leaving your clothes at work and showering at work?” I think she’s referring to your story on lead being found on the car seat, that type of thing. So, are there regulations in place for leaving and showering?
Damien: Yes, there are. In asbestos standard, it’s a requirement that you shower coming out of containment. Again, a lot of people don’t do it. In the lead industry, if the job is over certain duration of time of certain size, then you have to have on-site shower facilities. So, yes, there re regulations that provide guidance and sometimes mandate showering on site, but, again, it comes down to your hazard assessment and what the employer is trying to do. Depending on what you’re working on, the type of hazards, you will find some guidance for that, but you can always go the extra mile to make sure you segregate clean clothing from dirty clothing.
The biggest thing that I find or the biggest help that I find is never wearing your boots or the same clothing that you wear at the job site home. If you do, you want to minimize the amount of hazards that you’re bringing into the house, leaving them in the trunk of your car, leave them in a box in your car. If clothing is contaminated and you’re concerned about it, that’s another issue that you’d likely want to take up with your employer.
Doing things like wearing clean clothes to work, checking your clothing at work, I mean literally all the way down to your undergarments, wearing that clothing at work, taking that clothing off, and putting the new, clean clothing on to go back home is important. You also want to make sure that you’re not storing the dirty clothing in the same locker that you’re storing your clean clothing. That’s also important. Little things like that to personally protect yourself and also things that individuals can do to not take toxins home.
Jamie: Great advice. I see that tails into Karen’s question. What are the best ways to remediate when hazardous substance does end up at home?
Damien: It would depend on that substance. You would definitely deal with, say, asbestos and lead differently. First off, if it ended up at home and you have a problem – you have a bigger problem because you have it leaving the site. If it’s at home, it’s in your car, it’s likely going to other places, so that’s something that needs to be considered. Again, I would check the regulations. I would speak to a certified industrial hygienist or someone who is a subject matter expert in the area to try to figure out what is the best way abate whatever hazards has gotten into your home, but first, you’d likely need to deal with the source of the hazard and mitigate that.
Jamie: Thanks, Damien. Jason has a question. Is there a document to show the proper donning and doffing Tychem suits?
Damien: Yes. There is actually a video. If you go to SafeSPEC online, there’s a library. In that library, there are user guides, and manuals, and a few different videos on how to don and doff Tychem suits.
Jamie: What can go home with people that work in an office environment?
Damien: Mold, different allergens in the air handling system. You have to consider, you know, there are construction sites – a lot of times what you find is people do all kinds of things at home and they come to work. I’ve heard stories of guys melting lead to make fishing weights, and then coming to work and lead being on their clothing and falling on the floor and people take it home on their shoes. Animal, hair, and allergens, and different things of that nature can all happen inside of the office environment.
Jamie: Thanks, Damien. Brian has a question. Do you have any efficacy data for step-off pads for removal of contaminants?
Damien: No, I don’t personally. I would reach out to those manufacturers to see if they have any studies or any documentation just to shed light on that question.
Jamie: Thanks, Damien. Ma Glenda has a question. This is interesting. Do you have any PPEs that’s available for physically disabled adults? It gets specific to working in a university, but are there products out there that are designed for disabled individuals?
Damien: I don’t know if there’s anything that’s specifically made for disabled individuals. I guess the question would be, “What would be the disability?” I would say there are different garment styles. We do have lab coats that you typically put on like coats. We also have frocks, you can insert in them from the rear. We have pants. There are many different offerings for different styles of exposures that people can look at and see if they can find an appropriate garment for whatever the application is.
Jamie: Great advice. Thanks, Damien. Indrajeet has a question. Are these Tychem suits anti-static and can be used Zone 1, handling flammable materials? Are these also protective while handling combustible dust?
Damien: With anti-static questions, they’re treated for nuisance static. There are a lot more things going on with that question and that’s like a loaded question. That’s something that I would probably like to answer offline because there are a lot of different variables that go into that and that can get very tricky. There are situation-based – the anti-static treatment that’s placed on them are for nuisance things and not necessarily meant to be an engineering control. A question like that would have to be answered during the course of a risk assessment when all of the information is available.
Jamie: Marcus is asking, “What is the view on working on sewage sites with various chemicals on site? Should we be having all of our work clothes washed separate from our personal clothes?”
Damien: I think it’s just a good general practice to wash your work clothes separately from your everyday clothes. That’s just for general hygiene. I have a small child. I don’t wash my clothing with her clothing whether it’s just my general everyday stuff or my work stuff. It’s just some of those little bitty things you can do to prevent problems down the line.
Jamie: Alright. Well, that looks like we’re over time. So, really appreciate everybody hanging on the line. Damien, any parting words?
Damien: No. If anyone has any questions, my email address is there and I’m here to help.
Jamie: Yeah, great. Great resource, everybody, so jot down his email. Again, I’d like to thank everybody. Thank you, Damien. Very informative, great deep dive, so huge thank you to you for taking your time to present this and put this presentation together. Thanks to DuPont Personal Protection. Without you guys, this wouldn’t happen. Biggest thank you to the audience. Again, it’s you guys that make this possible. Without the audience, we would have nothing. It’s all about you. It’s about keeping you safe. We’re here as a resource for you.
With that, thanks, again, for attending the webinar. Reminder, we will be sending out a recording of the presentation just in a few days. With that, thanks, again, everybody. Take care and stay safe.