Simply speaking, cleanrooms are spaces designed to be free from impurities. These rooms are found in research labs, industrial production facilities, and in the manufacturing of pharmaceutical items and microprocessors. Cleanrooms are controlled environments with a low level of pollutants and a controlled level of contamination used where particles and unpredictable airflows can negatively impact the manufacturing process.
There are no size requirements for a cleanroom, and even an entire manufacturing facility can be contained within a cleanroom. Air is an important part in maintaining a cleanroom; the air inside the room is constantly recirculated to remove contaminants and the air entering the space is filtered to exclude dust. The equipment inside a cleanroom is designed with minimal air contamination in mind and airborne particles are controlled. Depending on the needs of the facility, additional measures like controlling humidity or maintaining positive pressure may also be necessary.
Cleanrooms are most likely to be compromised by workers and users. A certain level of protection must be donned before entering the room, whether it be an apron, coveralls, a beard cover, a hair net, shoe covers, or other body covers designed to reduce particulate contamination. The extent of a cleanroom suit is dependent on the facility needs and additional safety PPE may be required. If hazardous chemicals or dangerous machines are in the room, workers must be protected (with safety goggles, face masks, respirators, etc.) from the materials or processes being used.
Because of how sensitive and complex cleanrooms can be, it is important everyone working in and around the space are aware of proper procedures. For instance, a sign could be posted outside of the cleanroom detailing what clothing is required for entry. Contamination and safety warnings should be communicated, and a sign or label can serve as a reminder that eating, drinking, and smoking is prohibited.
Similar Glossary Terms
- Air-Purifying Respirator
- Confined Space
- OSHA 1926.102 Eye & Face Protection
- Radiation Safety
- Flame-Resistant Clothing
- Acute Exposure
- Anti-Fog Glasses
- Caution Signs