The uniform, or personal protective equipment (PPE) your employees wear in your cleanroom is one of the most essential components in maintaining the sanitation, safety and efficiency of the workspace. Particles lingering throughout the room can easily compromise the manufacturing and production process as well as your lab equipment. In addition, they can easily affect employee health, depending on the contents of your cleanroom. 

A cleanroom’s purpose is to monitor and limit pollutants like dust, chemical vapors, aerosol particles, and airborne microbes. Therefore, features like air filters, pressure controls, and airlocks all contribute to this goal. Also, another way to limit the concentration of pollutants, aside from equipment calibration, is with effective and appropriate cleanroom apparel and equipment. Of course, there is cleanroom apparel designed specifically for this purpose. So, how do you select what your employees should wear in different cleanroom scenarios?

Knowing Your Cleanroom Classifications

The International Standards Organization established nine cleanroom classifications. The standards each have classifications from ISO 1 to ISO 9. Cleanroom classifications vary depending on the sanitation requirements of the room. The ISO designates classifications based on their standards, particulate concentrations and the contents within each individual cleanroom. Also, specific industries require different cleanliness and sterility levels.

Particulate concentrations can fluctuate over time, beginning from the construction and installation of equipment. Also, as equipment and diagnostic devices enter the room, particulates increase. Additionally, when employees enter the room, particles rise even more. The three cleanroom classification standards include as-built, at-rest, and operational. Of course, it’s the lab administrator’s responsibility to ensure cleanroom testing on a routine basis without inhibiting workflow

ISO Classifications

The most common categories are ISO 3 Class 1, ISO 4 Class 10, ISO 5 Class 100, ISO 6 Class 1,000, ISO 7 Class 10,000, and ISO 8 Class 100,000. Out of all of these classes, ISO 3 Class 1 is the cleanest environment with fewer particles per a specific cubic foot or meter, particles rise even more. In addition, ISO 8 Class 100,000 is the least sanitary with the existence of the most particles per a specific cubic foot or meter.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Categories

First, since cleanroom classifications depend on cleanliness levels, the apparel should be compatible with the acceptable level of particles. Also, since ISO 3 Class 1 requires the cleanest environment with fewer particles per specific cubic foot or meter, it will require the most strict standard of apparel. ISO 8 Class 100,000 is the least sanitary environment with more particles per specific cubic foot (or meter). Therefore, it requires the least strict standard of apparel.

What Should I Wear In a Cleanroom?

Here is a breakdown of the ISO classifications and classes and the recommended apparel for each.

ISO 3 – Class 1

  • Intersuit
  • Hood
  • Hair cover
  • Facial cover
  • Gloves
  • Coverall
  • Boots

ISO 4 – Class 10, ISO 5 – Class 100

  • Hood
  • Hair cover
  • Facial cover
  • Gloves
  • Coverall
  • Boots

ISO 6 – Class 1000, ISO 7 Class 10,000, ISO 8 Class 100,000

  • Hood or hair cover
  • Facial cover – optional
  • Gloves
  • Coverall or frock
  • Boots or footwear

How Often Should Employees Change?

In addition, employees should change suits or garments depending on the cleanroom classification. For ISO 3, ISO 4, and ISO 5, cleanroom apparel should be changed per entry into the cleanroom. And, for ISO 6, cleanroom apparel should be changed three times a day. With ISO 7, cleanroom garments should be changed twice a day, and with ISO 8, cleanroom garments should be changed daily.

Additional Ways To Limit Contamination

Cleanroom apparel is not the only way to control contaminants in the environment. Of course, High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters also reduce airborne particles. These are special filters that trap particles of 0.3 microns or larger, as the air moves through the filter. In addition, Ultra-Low Particulate Air (ULPA) filters are also ideal for trapping particles.

Conclusion – Cryostar Industries

Ultimately, cleanrooms are an essential way to maintain high standards of cleanliness and sanitation within scientific environments. Additionally, at Cryostar Industries, we help countless labs test, monitor and evaluate their cleanrooms to ensure they’re meeting industry standards. For total quality control and employee safety, cleanroom testing is essential. Therefore, we provide premium cleanroom services in order to meet your individual needs.

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