What is a hazmat suit?
These are suits specifically designed to shield the wearer from harmful, toxicsubstances. These full-body suits protect against anything from lethal nerve agents, explosives, chemical toxins, pathogenic agents, radioactive materials to hazardous biological agents.
What are hazmat suits used for, and how do they work?
With chemical resistance, anti-abrasive and puncture/tear-proof qualities, hazmat suits act as a barrier between the wearer and harmful substances. These suits work by preventing you from direct contact with hazardous materials and are usually accompanied by goggles, face masks, boots and, in some cases, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
Who uses hazmat suits?
Hazmat suits are a common feature among professionals and personnel whose job description involves handling harmful substances regularly. These include doctors who deal with pathogenic agents, researchers in nuclear sites, firemen, chemical and biological labs, as well as people who clean up contaminated areas. Hazmat suits can also be used by regular people as a precaution when cleaning their homes or places they see as possibly contaminated.
What are the different levels of hazmat suits?
Hazmat suits differ depending on the intended purpose. Here are the four main classifications:
1. Level A has more layers of protection, and it used when handling highly dangerous materials. It contains an inbuilt breathing apparatus and an entirely chemical resistant suit.
2. Level B has most of these characteristics, but its breathing gear is on the outside of the suit.
3. Level C has your garden variety respirators and face masks, no SCBA tech.
4. Level D has no breathing equipment, just your usual overalls, and steel toes. Hazmat protection from head to toe.
How do I determine the right hazmat suit?
In principle, the manufacturer of the protective gear you purchase should provide a list of chemicals that the specific suit is resistant to. Depending on whether you're cleaning out toxic waste or doing mold remediation, this chemical resistant will guide you on what will the appropriate gear to purchase. There are also some crucial steps you should follow to ensure you don't exposeyourself to any pathogens or dangerous chemicals.
1. Evaluate the risks attached to the work you intend to do. Are the threats gaseous, liquid, or solid? Specifying the risk factor will determine whether the main issue is respiratory, or whether you are protecting yourself against splashdamage. You may also be dealing with heat or icy conditions. At which point you will needa material that is either heat resistant or sturdy enough not to break apartwhen exposed to freezing temperatures.
2. You should also check for resistance to contamination, especially wherechemical protection gear is concerned. This will determine if the suit is reusable,or if the contaminate is too corrosive to remove. How long a chemical takes topenetrate a specific material will determine the effectiveness of its level ofprotection.
3. Lastly, there is always the consideration of the respiratory apparatus. Most toxicsubstances have fumes that may cause breathing problems, which is why youneed to prioritize this. Gas can affect sight as well, which is why you'll need asuit with a full face mask if you want to be thorough.
What can a hazmat suit do for you?
Note that these suits can be used as a safety precaution in several ways. Having one can be useful for many home DIY projects, for cleaning up or even mold remediation. Hazmat suits are also useful during many types of emergencies.