What is a cleanroom?

Cleanrooms are controlled environments that aim to have as low a level of pollutants as possible. They have parameters in place that control the amount of contamination from chemical vapors, aerosol particles, airborne microbes, and dust, and are used in any industry where small particles have an adverse impact on the manufacturing process. While they vary in complexity and size, cleanrooms are used for life sciences, optics, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, biotech, and more. On top of particle contamination, other environmental factors are controlled in cleanrooms, including the pressure, temperature, and humidity.

Cleanroom Protection

One of the most important aspects to cleanroom environments is reducing the likelihood of workers bringing in contaminants. If personnel contamination occurs, this can lead to product defects or cross-infection between patients and medical staff in healthcare settings. Employees who conduct tasks in cleanrooms typically undergo extensive training on contamination control theory. They go through gowning rooms or airlocks in order to enter the cleanroom, and they wear specialized PPE that is designed to trap the contaminants that skin and hair naturally generate. Cleanroom PPE may include:

  • Boots
  • Shoe covers
  • Hair nets and beard covers
  • Lab coats or gowns
  • Gloves
  • Face masks
  • Hoods

A full cleanroom suit is typically required to enter a cleanroom. However, cleanrooms are classified according to the level of control, and some rooms need lower levels of pollution than others. Exact cleanroom PPE will depend on the type of cleanroom and operations that take place within the room.

If your facility has cleanrooms, it’s important to put up cleanroom signs and other visual communication to prevent any unauthorized personnel from entering the rooms; cleanrooms are most likely to be compromised by people who enter without taking the proper precautions. Signs help to provide warnings against entering, and can show exactly what type of PPE is needed. Cleanrooms are a successful and necessary aspect to many different types of manufacturing processes, but they are only effective when everyone onsite understands the restrictions and respects the low-contamination environment.

 

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