It is essential to be equipped with the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) when dealing with hazardous materials such as silica dust or asbestos. Coveralls are one-piece, loose-fitting protective suits that offer protection against outside contaminants over a large area of the body. Coveralls are generally worn over the top of personal clothing and can protect workers against a number of hazards such as of a chemical, mechanical, thermal and biological nature. Coveralls can be made of numerous materials, offering differing resistance to things such as abrasions, chemical, liquid, spray or aerosol permeation, and ignition. Coveralls protect the body from the ankles to the wrists, and hooded coveralls also protect the head around the face.
Depending on the tests the disposable coveralls have passed, they will be classified by Type in accordance to their suitability for certain applications. Coveralls may be approved for more than one Type.
Coverall Type Classifications
Type 1 – Gas tight
Type 2 – Non-gas tight
Type 3 – Protection against liquid
Type 4 – Protection against liquid spray
Type 5 – Protection against airborne particles
Type 6 – Protection against liquid chemical splash
How to wear coveralls
Disposable suits should be thoroughly checked over before usage for any defects or visible damage such as tears that would lower the level of protection provided and increase the risk of contamination. Damaged protective coveralls should not be worn, and should be replaced. Before donning, remove any unnecessary jewellery that could get caught on the inside, such as watches. If the disposable suit is the correct size, it should cover the wrists and ankles comfortably, while still allowing for a range of movement. It is a good idea to choose one size larger than usual to avoid the possibility of accidental tears as a result of restrictive clothing.
Glove connectors or tape should be used to seal loose arm and leg cuffs to make sure no airborne material is able to enter.
When wearing protective clothing, it is important to take care within the working area and be aware of immediate surroundings so as to prevent any damage occurring to the garment that could reduce its effectiveness, such as around sharp edges or hot surfaces.
How to remove coveralls
Coveralls and any other PPE must not be removed while working in the hazardous area. Hazmat suits or protective clothing may need decontaminating once the job has been completed, through procedures such as in a decontamination shower, before doffing. When it is safe to do so, the protective gear should be removed slowly and cautiously so as not to contaminate the wearer or surroundings. Rolling the work coveralls outwards down and touching only the inside of the suit is the best way to avoid contamination. Disposable coveralls should not be cleaned in an attempt to reuse. Proper disposal is necessary, ensuring no contaminated PPE clothing is left in the work area. Learn more about the safe disposal of contaminated PPE here.
Protection against asbestos
When dealing with a hazard such as asbestos, it is important that workers are completely covered in reliable gear to avoid the risk of contamination. Protective coveralls worn during the removal of asbestos should be rated Type 5, Category 3. Ansell is a leading brand in the safety space and manufacture quality asbestos suits to keep workers protected on site. When wearing coveralls for an extended period of time in harsh environments, product performance is vital and garments of inferior quality may leach, tear and don't breathe as comfortably. Below are two suitable options when asbestos clothing is required.
Type 3/4/5 Microchem 3000 Coverall
These yellow coveralls are made with one of the lightest and most comfortable chemical protective fabrics available. The Microchem 3000 coverall provides an affective barrier against materials of both an inorganic chemical and biological nature.
Type 5/6 Microgard 1800 Coverall
The lightweight and breathable fabric of the Microgard 1800 white coveralls makes these coveralls suitable for use in warmer working environments, protecting from fine particulates and low hazard liquid spray.
ATOM stocks a wide range of full body protection suits including Tyvek coveralls from Dupont, Ansell Microgard and Microchem, coveralls from MSA and more. If you’re not sure what type of coveralls are right for your job, contact the team at ATOM Safety.