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    Comfortable, Happy Operators Reduce Risk of Contamination

    Your organization’s cleanliness requirements for cleanroom gloves, gowns, caps, and face coverings are important.  But they stand no chance in trapping particles and maintaining your cleanliness specifications if your operators don the items incorrectly or wear the items improperly during their shift.

    Studies by the National Environmental Balancing Bureau (NEBB) estimate that 70% of the contaminants in cleanrooms are operator-generated. Because cleanroom gloves and apparel are often restrictive and uncomfortable, it can be tempting for operators to wear them improperly if it means better comfort. 

    What Hidden Contaminants in Cleanroom Gloves Put Yields at Risk?

    Why aren’t cleanroom gloves and apparel comfortable?

    First, they can be hot. The materials that are most effective at encapsulating operator-generated contaminants are generally the least breathable.

    Next, they can restrict movement. Many materials can be rigid or inflexible, limiting movement and increasing fatigue.

    Finally, certain substrate materials, especially gloves, can interfere with the operator’s tactile senses, adversely affecting dexterity and performance.


      Explore Cleanroom Glove Selection Fundamentals - Valutek Blog Series


    Strategies for Operator Comfort

    How do you ensure that your operators are comfortable while wearing their gloves, caps,  gowns, and face coverings?  

    Here are four comfort strategies:

    • Include operators in the selection process to evaluate the comfort and ease of use of gloves, gowns, caps, face coverings, and shoe coverings. If operators have input into their required gloves and apparel, they are more likely to be satisfied with the selection and implement proper use. Most cleanroom products worn are available in a range of materials with varying basis weights and filtration efficiencies—trial products to find the one that meets your cleanliness requirements and is most comfortable to operators.
    • Work with your operators to add undergarments to your specifications to achieve the coolest, most comfortable, and least restrictive combination of base layer clothing and cleanroom garments. For example, cleanroom operators may be more comfortable in lightweight, reusable surgical scrubs under their gowns, coveralls or lab coats than in their street clothes. Providing these base layer garments can also reduce the chance of contamination as they eliminate operators wearing non-compliant street clothes.
    • Offer compatible “comfort” products (i.e. glove liners and hand lotion) in the gowning room. While these items do not trap particles like shoe covers or bouffant caps, they are effective at keeping operators’ hands—their most import “tools”—comfortable through a full shift. The added cost of these non-required products in a gowning room typically pays for itself with increased operator efficiency and fewer glove changes.
    • Maintain a cooler cleanroom for operators wearing apparel that can be hot. Keeping temperatures cooler will increase compliance with proper wear for the entire shift. Along with apparel selection and comfort testing, the operators involved in specification can test and provide feedback on comfortable operating temperatures.
    • Implement a training program to teach operators how to correctly don and wear cleanroom apparel and why it is important for their success. This knowledge supports successful implementation. For best practices, IEST publishes recommended practices for establishing standard operating procedures and developing training programs in IEST-RP-CC027.

    Your organization’s investment in cleanroom equipment, tooling, and technology is significant, but it’s human behaviors that pose the greatest risk of contamination. By adopting these strategies to keep operators happy, you can reduce risk from the #1 source of contamination. 

    Explore More Resources

    Cleanroom Gloves: Finding the Best Size, Comfort, and Fit - Video

    Cleanroom Glove Selection Fundamental - Blog Series

    Cleanroom Glove Selection Fundamentals Part III: Comfort Requirements - Blog

    Four Steps to Close the Cleanliness-Comfort Gap in Cleanroom Apparel - Blog

    Best Practices: Operator Gowning Procedures & Training - Blog




    Valutek is one of the first and few manufacturers to offer a full product portfolio of best-in-class cleanroom products. Since 1988, our controlled environment consumables are helping leading organizations operate their cleanrooms in a consistently stable state.