Personal protection devices construction industry

The personal protective equipment to chemical agents in a manual on risk assessment in building construction. The legislation, protective clothing, goggles, face shields, gloves and footwear.

We continue to talk about chemical hazards in the construction sector through the document "Risk assessment in building construction" manual that was developed jointly by the Territorial Joint Committee for the Prevention of Accidents, Personal Care and Work Environment in Turin and Province (CPT Torino) and INAIL Piedmont.

Having dealt with in a previous article, references to the chemical risk of Legislative Decree 81/2008, the risks to health and safety and risk assessment, we focus on claims relating to personal protective equipment to chemical agents.

The manual talks about it extensively first remembering that PPE "should be used when the risks can not be avoided or sufficiently reduced by technical measures to prevent, by means of collective protection, by measures, methods or procedures of work reorganization."

In the introduction to these devices indicates that the production of PPE is governed by Legislative Decree no. 475/1992, "in part as amended by Legislative Decree no. 10/1997" and is mentioned in the text:

- The technical standards of reference;

- The three categories of PPE according to the Legislative Decree no. 475/1992;

- The CE mark and the manufacturer's notes;

- The obligations of the employer and employees;

- The general criteria for the identification and selection of PPE.

All themes PuntoSicuro has already dealt with in the past. We concentrate, therefore, on the indications for the individual DPI, pointing out that the devices of respiratory protection will devote a separate article.



The instructions in the manual take into account Annex IV of the DM May 2, 2001, "Criteria for the identification and use of personal protective equipment (PPE)," which presents the UNI 9609:1990. Norma retreat, but not yet replaced.

The criteria for the selection of protective clothing must be based on:

- "The nature, shape and quantity of the chemical agent detecting, if necessary, the concentrations in the air (for example, acid, splashes of liquid);

- The possible pathways of exposure;

- The identification of the elements that constitute the danger (for example, containers, dispensers);

- The severity of the possible exposure (amount of possible damage);

- The possible emergency situations;

- The exposed body parts;

- The ability to perceive the contamination;

- The duration of exposure. "

In particular, the choice should fall on the "type of garment needed to protect the exposed part of the body, until you get to protect the whole body, equipped with the appropriate requirements to the shape and type of chemical from which it must protect." Always remembering that "clothing should not be getting in the way."

The manual points out that the textile materials permeable "offer limited protection against liquids and powders and insufficient against the gas." However, garments can also be produced with "semipermeable or microporous materials which allow the passage of air and water vapor but prevent, in general, the penetration of liquids."

The textile materials impermeable to air "are composed of a textile base thickly woven with an appropriate polymeric film" and resist to the penetration of liquids or gases. "The films are of different nature and are used depending on the type of substance which must be protected (for example, butyl rubber against aromatic solvents, mineral oils and petroleum)."

It is evident that with "the increase of the thickness of the garment increases the protection against the permeation, but also the difficulty of the movements of the user and the inconvenience in general."


Protective clothing can be divided into:

- Clothing for localized protection, "used when the risk is limited to one part of the body. A classic example is the gloves to protect the hands and sometimes the forearm, when used with a suit, it is necessary to check the compatibility between sleeve and glove. " In addition, the footwear "typical against chemical attack are the boots, which guarantee the protection of the feet and legs of the contamination present in the floors." Other garments are "aprons or bibs (which protect from contamination front of the body) the sleeves, leggings, the overshoes, caps, hoods combined with hoods and pants";

- Clothing limited coverage: for example, jackets or coats, are used in case of low risk and worn over other clothing;

- Garments total coverage, including those fed with air and those impermeable to gas: "the first benefit of a pressurization that does not allow the penetration of the contaminant through the small openings while the airflow allows breathing, the latter must be absolutely free of holes. "

In the document - we invite you to view - you also face the usage limits and procedures for maintenance and storage.


Glasses and visors

Goggles chemical agents "are used to prevent contact with eyes, while the visors extend protection to the entire face." And the chemicals which can be protect against dust, fumes, mists and liquids.

In particular, the glasses that "ensure the necessary protection of the eyes against all chemical agents are those 'Form' because their conformation, airtight and watertight, determines the impenetrability of these agents, with glasses simple, even if equipped with screens side, it is not possible to reach that level of protection, these resulting more suitable to protect the eyes from the risk of injury due to the projection of solid particles (eg, chips). "


If the visors offer more extensive protection, they are not sealed, "so dust, fumes and mists could also come into contact with the eyes and the face."

In certain processes may need to use more than one item of PPE is also a respiratory mask of the face: "In such cases it may be helpful to wear a respirator with a full face mask that provides, among other things, the impenetrability of the agent."

The manual shows the basic requirements in the selection of PPE (wide field of view, impact resistance, combustion and corrosion resistance, transparency, ...);



Many of the particulars of the gloves, clothing for localized protection, has already been discussed in the section "Protective clothing".

It should be noted, however, that the gloves "shall ensure, consistent with the level of risk, the articulation of the hands and adequate capacity of understanding."

And their choice must take into account "any intolerance of the user to the manufacturing materials to prevent allergic phenomena: the simultaneous use of another glove, yarn or cotton, or a barrier cream can prevent these phenomena."

The materials used to manufacture them are different and depend on the agent chemical from which they must protect. These materials "can be equipped with support (reinforced gloves) in natural or synthetic fabric (eg, cotton, viscose)."

As for garments, the level of protection depends on the resistance to permeation, and then by the penetration time (time required for a liquid to penetrate through the protection).



Finally a few words on footwear for protection against chemical agents.

As we have seen the "typical footwear against chemical agents are boots, although typically the normal protective shoes they offer resistance to hydrocarbons (for example, organic compounds such as asphalt, bitumen, crude oil) or other special types of shoes can withstand weak acids. "

Even in this case, the materials used for the manufacture chemical depend on the agent from which they must protect. In particular, the manufacturer "must provide information on the minimum duration of the footwear, the type of chemical protection and other potential offers any resistance, such as: resistance to impact and crushing (usually required in construction), puncture resistance ( generally necessary in construction), resistance to perforation of the upper and anti-static. "


The shoes and gloves for protection against chemical agents belong to category III, so to use them "as well as information and training is mandatory training."




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