No matter your Ohio industry, we at Vernick understand the risks associated with cleanroom contamination. While consequences vary between and within industries, contaminants can result in the loss of millions in product and revenue. Even worse, impurity in the medical and pharmaceutical environments can lead to human illness and death. Keep reading to learn about common cleanroom contaminant sources.
1. The Human Element
Microbiomes exist in prolific amounts in humans, more so than other potential vectors. Improper hygiene occurs when employees don’t thoroughly wash and disinfect. In addition to the lack of personal hygiene, some employees don’t follow proper procedures when donning protective gear. In the latter case, proper hygiene doesn’t matter if the protective gear doesn’t serve its purpose. Moreover, some humans have an abnormally large microbiome presence. This makes eradication difficult even when employees follow procedures and hygiene protocol.
Frequent training and education keep essential requirements front of mind for employees. Additionally, checklists, monitoring, and supervision communicate the value placed on cleanroom environments. Instead of training humans, many organizations in this space look to automation to eliminate humans as contamination sources. However, the automation process itself sometimes produces contaminants, which leads to our second point.
2. Equipment and Materials
We just touched on how machines, tools, and equipment cause cleanroom contamination. In fact, the manufacturing process itself sometimes produces particulates that contaminate the environment or product. Check to see if your cleanroom uses any non-compliant tools, machines, or equipment unknowingly. These should be obvious, but sometimes things slip through the cracks.
Aside from machinery, supplies and packaging create cleanroom contamination risks. Products such as clean wipes and gloves should be sourced from appropriate ISO-classed manufacturers. This applies to the product itself and also its packaging.
Cardboard packaging is a major source of cleanroom contamination. Fibers escape from the box, especially during the opening and breakdown of the package, releasing damaging particulates into the environment. In fact, many types of paper supplies can cause contamination, such as paper towels, notebooks, and more. Consequently, sourcing these items from qualified vendors in their required standards should effectively mitigate this risk.
3. Ineffective Filtering and Air Flow
HEPA filtration systems and cleanroom components that are properly installed and maintained should protect against cleanroom contamination. When things go wrong in these areas, the consequences can be subtle and accumulate over time. Generally, the threat is contained through proper cleaning, especially in hard-to-reach areas like the ceiling and crevices. Again, proper, thorough, and regular maintenance ensure accurate functioning and protection. Finally, personnel should measure the cleanroom atmosphere regularly to ensure airflow and static temperatures.
Eliminate Cleanroom Contamination
Take proactive steps to safeguard against cleanroom contamination. Creating effective protocols and training, and monitoring that they are carried out, is one way to accomplish this. Of course, you must have the proper equipment (UV light sterilization, HVAC filtration, etc.) in place first and then take steps to protect and maintain it. If you’re in Columbus, Cincinnati, or the surrounding areas, call Vernick at (844) 476-1464. Let us share how our cleanrooms and components can help your organization achieve its goals.