08 Dec Biohazard Suits: Choosing the Right Suit for the Job
When it comes to biohazard suits, many people are surprised to learn that there are actually many different types of suits available. The type of environment you are entering determines the type of suit that you need to purchase and use for your job. Generally speaking, there are four different types of biohazard suits, also referred to as hazmat suits, available for use. These include:
- Biological Agents: protection from biological agents requires utilizing a fully sealed system that is typically at overpressure in order to prevent contamination even if the suit is damaged. Powered air purifying respirators with full hoods are also typically involved.
- Chemical Agents: protection from chemical agents typically involves utilizing barrier materials such as Teflon, rubber or heavy PVC and Tyvek.
- Fire/High Temperatures: protection from fire/high temperatures involves utilizing a combination of insulating and reflective materials.
- Nuclear Agents: protection from nuclear agents requires the inclusion of radiation shielding in the lining in order to prevent direct contact with radioactive particles or gasses.
Unfortunately, these suits are less flexible than standard work clothes, which means you should only work in one for a short period of time before taking a break. If doing strenuous work, you may need to limit your time to 15 to 20 minutes. If you are doing less strenuous work, you may be able to work for up to 2 hours before a break is needed.
Of course, if you are simply working in a wet area where extra protection is needed, you may not need a biohazard suit that is meant for use with fire/high temperatures or with biological, chemical and nuclear agents. If you are planning to work in an area where there is a risk of these agents, however, it is in your best interest to purchase a protective suit and other Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) clothing, such as non-skid shoe covers, to help ensure your safety.