Magazine article Occupational Hazards

CPC Training Can Save Lives

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

CPC Training Can Save Lives

Article excerpt

When it comes to chemical hazards in the workplace, personal protective equipment (PPE) and chemical protective clothing (CPC) are often referred to as the "last line of defense" for workers.

Whether it's a chemical spill on a highway, biological fluids at an accident, or drums leaking unknown substances, PPE and CPC can save the lives of those who wear it.

Case by case and chemical by chemical, industrial employees, hazardous waste site workers and emergency responders should be given every opportunity to properly select and use CPC products to protect themselves.

At DuPont, comprehensive training for the selection of CPC is offered in the form of Chemical Protective Clothing: The Last Line of Defense. This multimedia course, developed by DuPont and used by hundreds of qualified instructors across North America, is designed for all training methods to provide safety instructors with the latest information about regulations and standards for CPC and PPE, understanding properties of CPC components and evaluating and using CPC ensembles.

The same objectives for this course apply to any type of chemical hazard training session. From routine industrial situations to emergency response operations, workers should be able to walk away from the classroom with a basic understanding of industry regulations and standards; regulatory requirements; and CPC types, construction, testing and uses. What's more, they should be able to confidently select the appropriate protective clothing and know how to use it effectively. What follows is a proven approach for workers in the selection and use of CPC.

* Know the Regulations and Standards, Regulations and standards play an important role in the selection and use of CPC. At the very least, employers and employees should have a working knowledge of different regulations and standards and be able to differentiate between mandatory regulations, which are laws that must be followed, and voluntary consensus standards, which are suggested guidelines.

They should also be able to identify the governing agencies and organizations responsible for devising and updating these regulations and standards. Perhaps the most well-known regulations affecting PPE and CPC are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) PPE regulations 29 CFR 1910.132-136, 138 and OSHA's Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) regulation 29 CFR 1910.120.

The general requirements of the PPE regulations mandate use of PPE when chemical, environmental, radiological or mechanical hazards exist that may pose any risk of injury to an employee. HAZWOPER addresses the type of protection, training and documentation required for people working in emergency response situations or at chemical waste sites.

* Understand Properties of CPC Components. Chemical resistance and physical properties are critical considerations in the evaluation of CPC materials. There are three ways that a chemical can pass through a material: degradation, penetration and permeation. Degradation is a physical, molecular change to a material as a result of contact with a chemical. Penetration refers to the flow of a chemical through openings in a material. Permeation is the movement of a chemical through a fabric at a molecular level.

As far as physical properties are concerned, durability (a material's inherent strength) and flexibility (how well a material withstands twisting, compression, bending, stretching and extreme temperatures) are the primary ones to consider in CPC materials. CPC manufacturers generally provide information about these properties. …

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