Justification for Selecting Level A vs. Level B Personal Protective Equipment to Remediate a Room Containing Concentrated Acids, Bases and Radiological Constituents

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Selecting the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is based on providing an adequate level of employee protection relative to the task-specific conditions and hazards. PPE is categorized into four ensembles, based on the degree of protection afforded; e.g., Levels A (most restrictive), B, C, and D (least restrictive). What is often overlooked in preparing an ensemble is that the PPE itself can create significant worker hazards; i.e., the greater the level of PPE, the greater the associated risks. Furthermore, there is confusion as to whether a more ''conservative approach'' should always be taken since Level B provides the same level ... continued below

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9 pages

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Hylko, J. M.; Thompson, A. L.; Walter, J. F. & Deecke, T. A. February 25, 2002.

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Selecting the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is based on providing an adequate level of employee protection relative to the task-specific conditions and hazards. PPE is categorized into four ensembles, based on the degree of protection afforded; e.g., Levels A (most restrictive), B, C, and D (least restrictive). What is often overlooked in preparing an ensemble is that the PPE itself can create significant worker hazards; i.e., the greater the level of PPE, the greater the associated risks. Furthermore, there is confusion as to whether a more ''conservative approach'' should always be taken since Level B provides the same level of respiratory protection as Level A but less skin protection. This paper summarizes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations addressing Level A versus Level B, and provides justification for selecting Level B over Level A without under-protecting the employee during a particular remediation scenario. The scenario consisted of an entry team performing (1) an initial entry into a room containing concentrated acids (e.g., hydrofluoric acid), bases, and radiological constituents; (2) sampling and characterizing container contents; and (3) retrieving characterized containers. The invasive nature of the hydrofluoric acid sampling and characterization scenario created a high potential for splash, immersion, and exposure to hazardous vapors, requiring additional skin protection. The hazards associated with this scenario and the chemical nature of hydrofluoric acid provided qualitative evidence to justify Level A. Once the hydrofluoric acid was removed from the room, PPE performance was evaluated against the remaining chemical inventory. If chemical breakthrough from direct contact was not expected to occur and instrument readings confirmed the absence of any hazardous vapors, additional skin protection afforded by wearing a vapor-tight, totally-encapsulated suit was not required. Therefore, PPE performance and instrument data provided quantitative evidence to justify Level B.

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9 pages

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  • Waste Management 2002 Symposium, Tucson, AZ (US), 02/24/2002--02/28/2002

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  • Report No.: none
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 827908
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc785155

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  • February 25, 2002

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  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • April 26, 2016, 6:58 p.m.

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Hylko, J. M.; Thompson, A. L.; Walter, J. F. & Deecke, T. A. Justification for Selecting Level A vs. Level B Personal Protective Equipment to Remediate a Room Containing Concentrated Acids, Bases and Radiological Constituents, article, February 25, 2002; Tucson, Arizona. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc785155/: accessed October 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.