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Protecting those who work with chemicals

31 May 2017

Merck KGaA, a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials, is using the new Tychem 6000 F FaceSeal chemical protective coverall from DuPont to protect contractors involved in soil remediation work at its Gernsheim site in south west Germany

Tychem 6000 F FaceSeal is a new type 3-B, 4-B, 5-B and 6-B chemical protective garment that features an wide rubber seal on the hood to ensure a tight fit with a respirator mask without the need for taping. This makes donning the coverall faster – a benefit in emergency situations.

Made from Tychem F, a durable, tried and trusted material that has been used for many years for chemical protective clothing, the new coverall offers reliable protection against many toxic industrial organic chemicals, highly concentrated inorganic chemicals (even under pressure), particles, biohazards and certain chemical warfare agents. Entry is now at the back, so it is easy and safe to put on and take off, protecting  against frontal exposure and eliminating the need for any taping on the zipper.

Merck advised the contractors carrying out the soil remediation work regarding the selection of personal protective equipment (PPE) and assisted with training staff in the use of protective clothing. In addition to the Tychem 6000 F FaceSeal coverall, the workers wore a full-face protective mask with stationary breathing air supply and safety boots.

"We have been using the Tychem F garment for quite some time", explains Horst Widder, senior manager for fire protection and site security at Merck, whose duties include PPE selection. "Faced with ever lower workplace limit values for certain chemicals, such as benzene, we were searching for a chemical protective garment with a higher level of tightness and integrated gloves and socks. DuPont recommended the new Tychem 6000 F FaceSeal to us." 

Before taking a final decision, the company carried out several weeks of wear tests, with DuPont assisting by providing samples and in-depth technical advice. Horst Widder continues: "We were already aware of the merits of the material, such as its very high chemical barrier performance and low weight. The rubber seal on the hood of the new design fits tightly against the respirator mask without any creases, so ensuring a very high level of tightness at this critical location which cannot be achieved with conventional taping." 

Chemical-resistant gloves are directly attached to the sleeves of Tychem 6000 F FaceSeal and there is no need to use barrier tape here either. The workers at Merck wear ordinary working gloves on top of these integral undergloves.

A further innovation is that the new coverall has attached dissipative socks that make it suitable for explosive environments, as well as knee-level boot flaps, so it can be worn with safety shoes or boots. Combined with antistatic shoes, the conductive strips in the socks provide earthing and ensure safe dissipation of electrostatic charges. In addition, Tychem 6000 F FaceSeal has an antistatic treatment on the inside.

Widder concludes, "Since staff were already familiar with handling the predecessor Tychem F, training costs for the new garment could be kept to a minimum."