You are here: AU  Staff Departments  Department of Chemistry Safety Safety regulations Personal protection

Personal protection

THE BASICS OF PROTECTIVE GEAR

The primary focus will be the protection of eyes, skin and breathing.

  • Eyes: Security approved protective glasses with side protection must be used at all times in the laboratory. Normal glasses do not provide enough protection. If you are a user of contact lenses, the colleagues/student around you must be aware and protective glasses must be worn.
  • Skin: Protective gloves of the correct type must be used when needed.
    A lab coat must be worn when doing laboratory work. Lab coats protect not only your clothes but also your skin.
    Contaminated gloves, lab coats and clothes must be changes immediately!
  • Breathing: Only on very special occasions, like in the event of an accident, will it necessary to wear a gasmask. Breathing is primarily protected by avoiding exposure to harmful gasses, steams or dust, including working with a fume hood.

 

GLASSES

It is required to wear security-approved glasses in all experimental laboratories (no matter what kind of errand you have in the lab and no matter how short a time you expect to stay). Normal glasses do not provide enough protection but can be used along with protective glasses or protective prescription glasses.
Protective glasses exists in many different brands, qualities and sizes. All glasses must have side shielding to minimize the risk of slashing hitting the eye. Many types of glasses have temples that are adjustable in length and that can be twisted to suit individual anatomy. The glass material itself is often a mechanically strong plastic material (such as polycarbonate) – its weakness being that certain organic solvents can dissolve the surface and cause the glasses to lose transparency.
Employees at the Department of Chemistry who need prescription glasses have the option to have a pair of prescription protective glasses paid for by the Department. Contact the Safety Manager.

GLOVES

 

Gloves are used to avoid the influence of chemical substances that could do harm through contact with skin, either directly or by passing through the skin and doing damage to other parts of the body.
At the Department of Chemistry, we primarily use nitrile gloves but thick rubber gloves (cleaning gloves) are also available.

When should gloves be used?

  • The use of protective gloves is necessary whenever there is a risk of skin contact with dangerous substances and materials (e.g. when cleaning up splash, immersion that includes hands, contact with skin permeable vapors, risk of spills and the like).
  • In all other instances one should consider whether gloves are needed at all, as they hold on to moisture so that the skin swells up, gets warm and opens its pores. Cotton gloves can be used inside a protective glove to absorb moisture. Some glove materials can cause contact dermatitis and allergies (especially latex).
  • In the case of work on the solids, the cheapest disposable gloves can be used, as solids do not penetrate the gloves. This of course assumes that the gloves are not wet and that no solvents are handled at the same time.

 

Penetration times of gloves

  • Gloves are not equally resistant to all substances and materials.
  • Penetration times are data that indicate how long it takes, from the glove's first contact with the substance/material to the first small amount has penetrated through.
  • The glove manufacturer provides penetration times. It should be noted that penetration times are often indicated for pure substances and not mixtures.
  • It is always necessary to know the penetration time when handling liquids. If you often work with a special mixture, the penetration time can be tested using a special glove tester. Several authorized occupational health and safety advisers provide this service. DS safety equipment. See also “Quick selection guide to chemical protective clothing, Krister Forsberg, S.Z. Mansdorf, Fourth Edition”.

 

Measures and precautions

  • Only use gloves approved in accordance with DS/EN 374-3. The approval states that the glove has been tested against one or more chemicals with respect to the permeability/penetration and that it is possible to obtain test data from the manufacturer.
  • Primarily use disposable gloves and change them if a chemical gets on - or at the latest when the penetration time is reached.
  • Use gloves without powder (allergy risk). The powder (= cornstarch) is not allergenic in itself, but mechanically irritating and the carrier of any possible allergenic molecules from the glove material.
  • Please note: There is also a risk of allergy even when using powder-free gloves.

 

GENERAL ADVICE ON THE USE OF GLOVES

Before using gloves:

  • Your hands should be clean and dry.
  • Do not wear rings inside a glove.
  • The gloves must be intact.
  • When handling liquid chemicals, one must know the penetration time on the gloves you wish to use when working, the penetration time is calculated from the first contact with the substance.
  • If the gloves are to be worn for more than 15 minutes, cotton gloves should be used to absorb moisture from the hands.

 

The gloves must be replaced:

  • In case of breakage, tears or the like.
  • Before the penetration time is reached, even if the glove looks intact.
  • If the gloves get dirty on the inside (often happens while wearing short cuffs).
  • The inside gloves should be changed when wet.
  • After work and before breaks etc.
  • Always wash your hands when changing gloves.
  • The gloves must be removed before operating door handles, computers and similar items that are expected to be clean.

 

Good hand hygiene:

  • Good hand hygiene is incredibly important, as dry and cracked skin increases the risk of absorbing substances and materials, and of eczema and allergies.
  • Wash/rinse your hands frequently and carefully.
  • Dry your hands carefully and put on a nourishing hand cream.
  • If there are nuisances while using gloves, change them to another type or try changing to a different size.

 

12979 / i31