Hazmat suit: chemical & biohazard protection
The use of a hazmat suit is very common in many areas of business and applications. This personal protective equipment is used in particular in the medical environment, laboratories, agriculture, sanitation, industrial refrigeration, asbestos removal, decontamination, emergency services, during chemical accidents, and more generally during works and interventions in toxic areas.
Choosing the right chemical hazard suit
First, it is necessary to assess the exact content of the chemical risks involved: bacteriological or chemical substances, solid, liquid or gas. Depending on their impermeability, chemical protective clothing is classified into 6 performance categories ranging from 1 for the most impermeable to 6 for the least efficient.
The different types of hazmat suits
In Europe, hazmat suits are classified from 1 to 6 according to different European standards. In the United States, they are rated from A to D based on their performance and characteristics.
- Type 1 (standard EN943): Gas-tight chemical protection suits, protection against liquid chemical agents, gases and aerosols as well as very fine particles. CBRN suit in SCBA version worn inside the suit (type 1a).
- Type 2 (standard EN943): Non-gas-tight clothing, protection against chemicals, liquids and aerosols.
- Type 3 (standard EN14605): chemical protective clothing impervious to liquids in the form of continuous jets.
- Type 4 (standard EN14605): Coveralls impervious to mists and sprayed liquids.
- Type 5 (standard EN13982-1): Protection against solid particles suspended in the air.
- Type 6 (EN13034 standard): Time-limited protection against liquid chemical splashes.
Categories 1 and 2 are “diving suits” types and are particularly suitable for classified sites with high chemical risks. Types 3 and 4 suits (intermediate protection) are more used in the petrochemical and chemical industries. Type 5 coveralls protect against products with solid particles carried by the air (toxic dust) and can therefore be used for asbestos removal or during dusting operations in the agricultural environment. Our selection of hazmat suits brings together type 1, 2 and 3 equipment.
Different ventilation systems are available with chemical protection suits:
- Wearing the SCBA inside the garment (index "a" - For a type 2 garment, the suit will be classified 2a)
- Wearing the SCBA on the outside of the garment (index b)
- Supplied air system (index c)
The type of breathing air supply selection depends on the use. For example, for long-term work, a hazmat suit with a supplied air system (SAR) will be preferred. For short-term interventions in an hazardous atmosphere, a chemical suit with the self-contained breathing apparatus worn underneath will be recommended.
Reusable or limited-use hazmat suit?
A chemical protective suit can be reusable or for limited use.
- Washable and therefore reusable hazmat suits are often heavier, bulkier and more expensive with weights sometimes going up to 300 gr / m2 because they are more protective. They require very careful decontamination in approved maintenance centers, which can lead to significant costs and delays.
- Limited use chemical protective suits offer better comfort and highly targeted protection depending on the nature of the risks encountered. However they should systematically be discarded if contaminated or presenting a mechanical fault (tear, puncture, scratch).
Hazmat suit breakthrough & resistance
The breakthrough time of a hazmat suit defines the time that a chemical agent takes to pass through the material of the equipment. In Europe, breakthrough time tests are carried out mainly according to the FINABEL 0.7.C standard. The different materials constituting a chemical protective have different breakthrough times. This characteristic should be taken into account in the choice of equipment according to each application.
In some application areas the flame resistance of a hazmat suit may be required. When working in an ATEX zone and / or in the presence of flammable gases and liquids, wearing a protective suit approved for this type of intervention is essential.
Dräger hazmat suits
Guaranteeing exceptional craftsmanship and quality, the manufacturer Dräger offers a wide range of chemical protective clothing. The brand's SPC and CSP lines feature chemical biohazard and hazmat suits suitable for the most complex applications. The brand also offers many accessories for these PPE such as different ventilation systems, options for boots, hoods and a choice of integrated gloves. Dräger hazmat suits are efficient, comfortable and flexible while exhibiting excellent mechanical resistance.
Hazmat suit maintenance and annual control
In addition, these reusable or limited-use chemical protective clothing is class 3 personal protective equipment (PPE). They are therefore subject to an annual periodic inspection like all class 3 PPE. This periodic inspection includes a leak test and valves control on the test bench. For reusable versions, this full inspection should be performed annually for 10 years.
GazDetect - Dräger Authorized Service Center - performs all annual periodic checks of the entire range of Dräger chemical suits in our maintenance laboratory. Do not hesitate to contact us for the maintenance of these very special PPE.