The infographic below, Cleanroom Contamination Control: Cleaning Procedures and PPE, presents a high-level overview of cleanroom issues that have never been more important than they are today.
The infographic serves as a good reminder to help cleanroom personnel and cleaning staffs stay alert and disciplined in their very important safety-related actions and activities.
As the infographic points out, training is critical for preventing cleanroom contamination — in fact, training must be so intense that cleanroom safety becomes a mindset and a reflex.
This is because anyone of a host of seemingly minor or irrelevant actions that we do every day can have catastrophic results in a cleanroom.
Here are two examples of such seemingly minor issues. The type of street clothes worn under a cleanroom gown makes a difference since some materials (flannel and velour, for example) shed fibres.
Dandruff is also a source of contamination that can unwittingly or uncaringly be brought into the cleanroom.
Simple, preventable issues such as these can undermine a lot of hard work and cost that goes into cleanroom cleaning and illustrates how important it is to train the entire cleanroom staff in every detail of contamination prevention.
The type of air filtering equipment, cleaning procedures, cleaning supplies and PPE required for a cleanroom is driven by its ISO-14644-1 classification.
There are nine classes (ISO 1 – ISO 9) with different requirements for particle concentration and size permissible within the cleanroom environment, with the cleanest cleanroom being ISO 1.
These criteria, by the way, apply to airborne particles.
Cleanroom contamination poses serious health risks, not only to the cleanroom staff but also to the public at large.
When product quality for foods, pharmaceuticals or medical supplies are contaminated with pathogens or other toxic materials, health and safety may be compromised to a high degree.
Beyond the human toll, contamination carries a high financial cost (in terms of, for instance, nationwide or global recalls), and also a high cost in terms of negative publicity, which undermines consumer confidence and puts customer relationships at grave risk.
Cleanrooms are essential for not only the safe production of pharmaceutical products but also for technologically advanced experimentation and production in fields as diverse as aerospace, nanotechnology and general scientific research.
When cleanrooms function properly and safely, they play an indispensable role in advancing quality of life and scientific knowledge.