What Does Disposable Coveralls Mean?
Disposable coverall is an item of personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to cover the whole body and other clothing to protect against dirt or other outside contaminants. Coveralls are one piece and loose fitting for ease of movement, with sleeves, full leggings and often a hood to cover the head. These can also include overshoe pieces to cover footwear and protect against contamination.
Safeopedia Explains Disposable Coveralls
The purpose of using disposable materials to make coveralls is to avoid cost issues when using non-disposable materials which are certain to sustain damage when used situations that require coveralls very regularly, for harsh work conditions. Common materials used to make disposable gear are Tyvek, Polypropylene or Tychem. These materials have different safety ratings and properties which suit them to different environments. For example; some suits can be used in hazardous situations to protect from acid spills or hazard chemicals while some more breathable varieties may not. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have provided regulations and standards for the design, testing and use of disposable coveralls which should be considered by employers while making a risk assessment, safety plan and choosing PPE.
Choosing the Right Disposable Coveralls
Specifically, it looks closely at disposable coveralls such as the kind used for protecting against chemical sprays or hazardous dusts like asbestos.
Why use protective clothing such as coveralls?
Workers can be exposed to many hazardous chemicals, mists and particles in the workplace. For example, asbestos is a well-known hazard, causing serious health issues such as mesothelioma and cancer. The smallest amount of inhaled asbestos can cause health problems, hence the stringent regulations and standards for handling asbestos in Australia.
In addition, many other harmful dusts and chemicals can be encountered on the work site. Many workplaces and workplace health and safety guidelines mandate that PPE including disposable protective coveralls be used for certain work processes.
In addition to handling asbestos, hazardous processes include working with chemicals, paint spraying, wood work, chemical manufacturing, environmental remediation, cleaning and fibreglass handling.
General guidelines for protective clothing
AS/NZS4501.2 covers general performance requirements for ergonomics, size and marking of protective clothing. It covers the information that manufacturers should supply, and specifies that protective clothing should not cause irritation or harm.
It’s important to note that if coveralls are not a single use disposable item, they must be properly decontaminated. This will help prevent particles or chemicals cross contaminating work processes, environments, and the worker’s regular work clothing.
Tests and standards for dusts, chemicals and particles
Protective coveralls are generally specified with a ‘Type’, which refers to a host of International Standards. These standards cover a wide range of individual performance tests that check for resistance against:
Abrasion and cracking
Tensile strength and tear resistance
Resistance to punctures
Resistance to chemical permeation
Resistance to spray and aerosols
Resistance to ignition
Once the garment has passed a series of tests, it is classified into a type depending on its suitability for different applications.
Types of disposable coveralls
Type 1 – Gas tight EN 943-1, EN943-2
Type 2 - Non-Gas tight Garments EN 943-1
Type 3 – Liquid tight EN14605, EN ISO17491-3
Type 4 – Spray tight (saturation) EN 14605, EN ISO17491-4
Type 5 – Protects against airborne particles EN ISO13982-1
Type 6 – Protects against liquid chemicals (light spray) EN13034, EN ISO17491-4
Garments can also be classified as protecting against a range of hazards – for example, our Microchem 300 chemical splash suit is a Type 3, 4 and 5 coverall.
Type 1 refers to completely enclosed protective suits designed to protect against chemical contamination in the form of liquid or gas. Likewise, non-gas tight suits which retain positive pressure to prevent ingress of dusts, liquids & vapours are referred to as Type 2.
However, the most common classifications of protective coveralls in our industry are 3 through to 6 so let’s look at these in more detail.