In many industries, there are specific vital functions that cannot be safely carried out in an environment where the concentration of airborne microbes and particles exceeds a certain level. For example, in the semiconductor industry, sensitive equipment can become ruined during the assembly process if pollutants in the immediate area have not been adequately managed; another example is provided by the biomedical field, where uncontrolled microbes may compromise biological materials. It’s all too easy for contamination to occur; in some cases, particles as small as 0.5 microns can wreak havoc. So what is to be done about this?
The answer to this problem is to maintain a cleanroom. This is a designated environment that has been carefully constructed to reduce the concentration of airborne pollutants so personnel can perform certain tasks without fear of contaminating sensitive materials. For obvious reasons, it is essential to keep this area as contaminant-free as possible—but how can this be accomplished? Let’s take a quick look at the various issues involved with cleanroom safety.
Be Aware of the Human Element
Contamination isn't just about unsightly mold and other obvious sources; sometimes it can be traced to seemingly innocuous causes. Without proper precautions, human personnel may inadvertently introduce pollutants into the area. Perfume and cosmetics are often-overlooked sources of pollutants. Tiny flakes of skin or particles that adhere to human hair may compromise the quality of air in the cleanroom. Perspiration due to strenuous exertion or improper room temperature is yet another potential cause of contamination. Sudden, quick movements tend to release particles into the air, so these should be avoided whenever possible.
Use Proper Cleaning Supplies
Obviously, it’s important to keep the cleanroom clean—but using the wrong supplies for this task could lead to serious problems. Simply using the same mop twice may bring pollutants into the cleanroom, as tiny particles tend to adhere to the fibers even after extensive cleaning. One common trick is to opt for single-use cleaning supplies that get tossed in the trash immediately afterward. But it is also possible to purchase special cleaning supplies that have been specifically engineered for cleanrooms and, if properly handled, these products can be used repeatedly.
Use HEPA Filters
HEPA filters—the term stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air—have proven to be effective in keeping out even very tiny particles. For this reason, it is advisable to use HEPA filters to protect the integrity of cleanroom air.
Wear Approved Cleanroom Uniforms
A number of companies provide clothing designed for use in cleanrooms, and all personnel working in the environment should wear these. Cleanroom uniforms typically include gloves, masks, boots, coveralls and head coverings that have been specially engineered to resist liquids and bacteria.
Prudential Overall Supply provides high-quality work uniforms and related accessories to a wide range of industries. The company is a member of the Better Business Bureau (with an A+ rating), the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology, and the Textile Rental Services Association of America. As part of its commitment to environmentally friendly business practices, Prudential Overall Supply maintains TRSA Clean Green Certification. Established in 1932, the company has 27 locations that serve more than 25,000 clients in total.