Decontamination is a vital process for employees who handle hazardous wastes because it removes or neutralizes contaminants that have accumulated on personnel and equipment.
The steps in the decontamination process vary depending on the hazards involved, the equipment available, and the terrain and circumstances. However, this list is typical of what would be set up for a complex decontamination.
Station 1: Segregated Equipment Drop. Deposit equipment used on-site (tools, sampling devices and containers, monitoring instruments, radios, clipboards) on plastic drop cloths or in different containers with plastic liners. During hot weather operations, a cool-down station may be set up within this area.
Station 2: Boot Cover and Glove Wash. Scrub outer boot covers and gloves with decontamination (decon) solution or detergent/water.
Station 3: Boot Cover and Glove Rinse. Rinse off decon solution from station 2 using copious amounts of water.
Station 4: Tape Removal. Remove tape around boots and gloves and deposit in container with plastic liner.
Station 5: Boot Cover Removal. Remove boot covers and deposit in container with plastic liner.
Station 6: Outer Glove Removal. Remove outer gloves and deposit in container with plastic liner.
Station 7: Suit and Boot Wash. Wash encapsulating suit and boots using scrub brush and decon solution or detergent/water. Repeat as many times as necessary.
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Station 8: Suit and Boot Rinse. Rinse off decon solution using water. Repeat as many times as necessary.
Station 9: Tank Change. If an air tank change is desired, this is the last step in the decon procedure. Air tank is exchanged, new outer gloves and boot covers donned, and joints taped. Worker returns to duty.
Station 10: Safety Boot Removal. Remove safety boots and deposit in container with plastic liner.
Station 11: Fully Encapsulating Suit and Hard Hat Removal. Fully encapsulated suit is removed with assistance of a helper and laid out on a drop cloth or hung up. Hard hat is removed.
Station 12: SCBA Backpack Removal. While still wearing face piece, remove backpack and place on table. Disconnect hose from regulator valve and proceed to next station.
Station 13: Inner Glove Wash. Wash with decon solution that will not harm the skin. Repeat as often as necessary.
Station 14: Inner Glove Rinse. Rinse with water. Repeat as many times as necessary.
Station 15: Face Piece Removal. Remove face piece. Deposit in container with plastic liner. Avoid touching face with fingers.
Station 16: Inner Glove Removal. Remove inner gloves and deposit in container with liner.
Station 17: Inner Clothing Removal. Remove clothing and place in lined container. Do not wear inner clothing off-site since there is a possibility that small amounts of contaminants might have been transferred in removing the fully encapsulating suit.
Station 18: Field Wash. Shower if highly toxic, skin-corrosive or skin- absorbable materials are known or suspected to be present. Wash hands and face if shower is not available.
Station 19: Redress. Put on clean clothes.
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