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How Clean Is "Clean"? Regulations and Standards for Workplace Clothing and Personal Protective Equipment.

Sirianni, Greg MS; Borak, Jonathan MD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: February 2010 - Volume 52 - Issue 2 - pp 190-196
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181cc55e1
Original Articles

Objective: To compile current regulations and advisory recommendations on cleanliness of worker clothing and personal protective equipment and to evaluate the adequacy of criteria for determining whether cleanliness has been achieved.

Methods: Systematic review of information provided by federal agencies (eg, OSHA, MSHA, and NIOSH), nongovernmental advisory bodies (eg, ACGIH, AIHA, and ANSI), and manufacturers of protective clothing and equipment.

Results: We identified an array of terms describing “cleanliness” and the processes for achieving “cleanliness” that were almost never defined in regulations and recommendations. We also found a general lack of criteria for determining whether cleanliness and/or sterility have been achieved.

Conclusions: There is need to harmonize cleanliness-related terminology, establish best practices for equipment cleaning and sterilization, implement a signage systems to provide equipment-specific cleaning instructions, and adopt objective criteria for determining what is “clean.”

From the Department of Fire Science and Professional Studies (Dr Sirianni), University of New Haven, West Haven, Conn; and Departments of Epidemiology & Public Health and Medicine (Dr Borak); Yale University; New Haven, Conn.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (www.joem.org).

Address correspondence to: Greg Sirianni, MS, 234 Church Street (#1100), New Haven, CT 06510; E-mail: gsirianni@newhaven.edu.

©2010The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine