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Reinforce Safety in Cleanrooms with Floor Tape and More

By Kelsey Rzepecki

cleanroom entry sign

The typical construction costs for building an ISO 8 to ISO 7 cleanroom can range from $250 to $1,500 per square foot or more. There are many items that can drive up the building costs of a cleanroom, including flooring, ceilings, specialized furniture, lighting, and other devices.

Due to the large investment of building and maintaining a cleanroom, it reinforces the importance of keeping a safe and efficient facility to keep human error and downtime to a minimum. Managers can take these steps to minimize costs and improve overall safety and efficiency.

Evaluate Worker Training

Prevent costly mistakes and ensure your facility has a comprehensive training program in place for all personnel who enter a cleanroom. Deficient safety awareness training causes employees to misunderstand protocol, make mistakes, and cause potential problems. Make sure workers know why they need to follow specific procedures and how it connects to the overall goal of the operation. Consider these best practices to help aid worker training:

cleanroom worker

  • Determine a consistent method of employee evaluation and testing.
  • Discuss scenarios including corrective action when mistakes happen.
  • Regularly assess gowning processes.
  • Consider implementing various training tools that resonate with workers of different learning styles.
  • Supply visual guides near work areas, color-code important machine instructions, and post easy-to-read graphics and checklists.
  • Encourage employees to share suggestions for improvements.
  • Offer refresher training when necessary.

Minimize Damage from Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)

The level of surface cleanliness and low humidity in a cleanroom encourages static-charge generation. Static electricity can attract contaminants in cleanrooms, which is why electrostatic discharge (ESD) control is a big concern, especially in medical device manufacturing and microelectronics. Personnel are the main sources of static electricity from simply walking around, and this static charge can easily discharge into an ESD sensitive device. Equipment like carts and trolleys moving through the facility can also produce static charge that can transfer to the products that are being transported on the equipment.

To identify problem areas, establish how ESD-sensitive the parts and assemblies you’re manufacturing or handling are to determine the best solution for control. Check with the manufacturer or supplier of the equipment or refer to the part data sheet to determine the ESD classification or voltage.

You can reduce electrostatic attraction (ESA) and control static discharge in sensitive areas like cleanrooms using Electrostatic Dissipative (ESD) Tape. ESD tape won’t absorb static, making it ideal for labeling electronic components and marking in cleanrooms. Post signs to identify ESD sensitive items, produce barcodes, hazard labels, general facility labels and signs, and more. Note: implementing a static-control program will be the best way to ensure the most effective static control.

Implement a 5S System

A 5S system can help correct inefficiencies and ensure operations run smoothly by keeping all items within the cleanroom clean, functional, and where they belong. Here are suggestions for how to implement each step of 5S in cleanrooms and other controlled environments: 

cleanroom floor marking tape

Step 1: Sort

Remove all unnecessary items from the cleanroom. This will help eliminate clutter in the workspace, eliminating hazards that may have been lurking before.

Step 2: Set in Order

Make things easy to find. Assign equipment to specific locations so personnel know where to find and return items each time.

Step 3: Shine

Conduct basic maintenance duties. Make it a part of the daily routine to inspect, clean, and disinfect all surfaces and instruments in the cleanroom to protect against contamination.

Step 4: Standardize

Consistently enforce the rules. Ensure all personnel understand the goals and steps of the 5S system to experience the true benefits within the facility.

Step 5: Sustain

Repeat all steps of 5S daily—this will ensure the workplace remains clean, safe, and efficient.

Install Thoughtful Floor Marking

Make it easier for personnel to navigate in the clean room by installing floor tape. Designate work stations, safe aisle and pathways, storage areas, and more to enhance visibility, safety awareness, and organization in any facility. Ensure tape complies with the ISO cleanroom classification you need. It’s also perfect for implementing a 5S system. Create a standardized color-coding system and differentiate between hazards and organizational areas and alert personnel to areas of various tools and equipment.

Outline and highlight areas to prevent damage to expensive equipment, such as ceiling-mounted HEPA filters. Alert personnel who are conducting maintenance activities to keep clear to avoid punctures and other damage. Mark the facility floor and other areas and surfaces such as walls, carts, shelves, cabinets, and more. Graphic Products’ PathFinder LITE™ 5S Clean Room Tape is rated for ISO 4 and below and is ideal for floor marking applications in laboratories and other cleanroom controlled environments. 

Evaluate Safety Signs and Labels

Signs and labels are essential to any workplace safety program. They help prevent unsafe behavior, draw attention to important information, and communicate hazards. Reduce chances of human error and ensure safety by making sure labels and signs are in good condition by conducting a walk-through of the facility. Evaluate and replace worn, outdated, inaccurate, and damaged labels and signs. 

Cleanroom Safety Solutions

You can have a better chance of preventing contamination by using reliable labeling supplies that are engineered for cleanrooms. Tailor labels to your workplace and alert workers to important site-specific procedures, hazards, and more. Design and print custom labels and a variety of other safety messages using the DuraLabel PRO 300. It’s compatible with DuraLabel clean room class 100 compliant tape and clean room class 1,000 compliant ribbon, made specifically for applications in cleanrooms. The tape has a synthetic liner to limit the release of particulates into the air, reducing chances of contamination. Communicate procedures specific to certain work areas and processes: label vials, circuit boards, machinery, tools, and more. Alert workers to restricted areas, communicate cleanroom PPE requirements, and more with easy to install premade labels and signs. By implementing each of these tools, managers can promote a safer and more efficient cleanroom operation.

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