During the COVID-19 (“coronavirus”) pandemic, people in many vital industries are working around the clock to maintain our country’s critical infrastructure and the flow of essential products. In challenging times such as these, it’s more important than ever to stay calm and work smarter. It’s also vitally important to double-down on safety – remaining vigilant about using the right PPE, using it properly, and maintaining it with care.
Along with the COVID-19 pandemic has – rightfully and understandably – come increased emphasis on disinfecting work equipment, personal items, and commonly-touched surfaces. Research has shown the COVID-19 virus can maintain its viability on some surfaces for several days. While it’s tempting to reach for bleach to disinfect anything and everything, bleach and harsh chemical sanitizers are not always the right answer. So how can you safely disinfect your 40cal arc flash suit and the other PPE in your arc flash kit – like hard hats, face shields and voltage-rated rubber gloves – without jeopardizing the critical protective properties of that PPE?
Referencing the latest guidance from product manufacturers, Scott Margolin, Vice President of Technical, explains in this updated video:
Watch the video by clicking on the preview to the left.
As Scott explains, it’s vitally important that you do not share PPE unless it’s absolutely necessary due to the presence of an immediate hazard and there is no other PPE available. Here’s why. If you have no other option than to share PPE, or feel you need to disinfect your PPE for your personal safety, here’s how to disinfect the components of your arc kit:
- Arc suit: whether single or multiple layer, your arc flash protective clothing can be safely disinfected using basic home laundering procedures. Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions to remove things like the face shield, then launder the garments per standard laundering instructions.
- Leather gloves: hand wash with mild soap and water for 20 seconds and air dry
- Face shields: hand wash with mild soap and pat dry or air dry. Manufacturers have recently revised procedures, allowing alcohol wipes to sanitize face shields. Do NOT use bleach, ammonia, or other harsh sanitizers as you can damage and disable the coating on your face shield.
- Voltage-rated rubber gloves: the procedure to clean these has always been to hand wash with soap and water, then air dry. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers have revised this procedure to allow for field disinfection with bleach. However, Tyndale recommends against use of bleach on these specialized items, as the guidelines advise against using “too strong” of a solution without defining acceptable dilution strength. Further, there are no guidelines on how often these items may safely be disinfected without compromising their integrity through time. In the absence of specific guidelines, you risk damaging your gloves and their ability to protect you from shock or electrocution. Alternately, continue to use the standard hand washing procedure.
- Hoods: fans and other plastic parts like vents cannot be removed from the hood, making it difficult if not impossible to safely sanitize these items without causing irreparable damage to the integrity of this important – specialized, and expensive – PPE.
Remember: bleach or harsh chemical sanitizers should never be used on AR / FR clothing or arc suits, and should be avoided for all other specialized PPE – including the components of your arc kit, like face shields and gloves – unless explicitly allowed, with specific guidelines, by the manufacturer. Doing so jeopardizes your safety by reducing your PPE’s effectiveness in the event of an arc flash or flash fire.
COVID-19: Stay Informed, Stay Safe
As the COVID-19 (“coronavirus”) pandemic has posed increasing challenges to all areas of life, Tyndale is here to help take the guesswork out of how to stay safe from both the virus AND the arc flash and flash fire hazards you face while you work to maintain our country’s vital energy infrastructure. Follow along with all of our COVID-19 resources for important guidance on protecting yourself from arc flash and flash fire during the COVID-19 outbreak. And check back often, as new information is continually being added. Have a question we haven’t answered yet? Contact us at MarketingInfo@TyndaleUSA.com or schedule a complimentary technical consultation with recognized subject matter expert Scott Margolin.
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Always remember to regularly check the CDC website to stay up-to-date with the most recent news, health, and safety tips. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider.