The Keys to Implementing a PPE Decontamination Program

A roundtable discussion at AIHce 2014 covers how to implement a PPE decontamination program.

On the second day of the AIHA/ACGIH 2014 conference in San Antonio, a group of industry leaders covered the ins and outs of a Personal Protective Equipment decontamination program and how to implement one in a workplace. The roundtable covered decontamination objectives and methods, how to assess decontamination effectiveness, and the practical aspects of operating a decontamination facility.

To kick it off, Georgi Popov, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Central Missouri, covered the objectives and methods for decontamination. He spoke about the permeation and penetration of toxic substances; disposable, limited reusable, and reusable; the different types of contamination (surface and matrix); and the types of PPE that can be decontaminated -- respirators, encapsulating suits, and gloves. He also pointed out that more than $800 million is spent each year on protective gloves in the United States alone. In addition, $1 billion is spent each year treating illnesses as a result of skin exposure.

Next, Fred Bolton, PE, CIH, covered decontamination and doffing. He stressed the importance of not only decontamination, but getting the worker out of his or her PPE gear and safely home. He also gave tips, which included cleaning the suit opening, not just the suit; keeping the decon time brief; changing and washing gloves; and keeping decon team members in place. In addition, when dealing with liquid contamination, decon teams need to be sure to dry PPE openings before workers can exit their suits.

Don Linville, CIH, from the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, discussed the logistics of operating a decontamination facility. He pointed out that, in many facilities, decon people get ignored a lot. In addition, he stressed the importance of keeping decon simple -- choose the right PPE, wear it correctly, remove contamination, and doff the PPE.

Finally, Curtis Hintz, the industrial hygiene manager at Dow Chemical Company, spoke about the practical considerations of decontamination in industrial operations. He provided several photographs and case studies regarding specific applications in the field. He also discussed the importance of water as a primary decontaminant, properly examining PPE to determine whether or not it can be reused.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Incident investigation guide

    Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Levels of a Risk Matrix

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
Bulwark FR Quiz

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - July August 2020

    July August 2020

    Featuring:

    • CONFINED SPACES
      Addressing Confined Spaces and Heat Stress Concerns
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      Why Daily Wear FR Garments Make Sense No Matter the Season
    • HAND PROTECTION
      The Magic of New Technology
    • CHEMICAL SAFETY
      Why Effective Chemical Safety Training is More Important Than Ever
    View This Issue