Good storage and maintenance will ensure that a protective garment performs as it should do at the time it is needed. Correct storage is an essential part of any PPE programme, whether the items are used being used daily or stored for future
or emergency use. Inadequate or unduly prolonged storage conditions can directly affect a product s functional performance and provisions must always be made to ensure that adequate storage and renewal provisions are in place.
ANNEXE 9: GARMENT STORAGE AND EXPECTED LIFE SPAN
PERIODIC GARMENT TESTING In the case of gas-tight suits it is recommended that regular pressure tests are carried out on at least annual intervals throughout the designated product life span. This applies whether the products are in use or in storage.
GARMENT SHELF LIFE The shelf life of a protective garment relates to it expected functional life under recommended storage conditions. It is the timespan during which a product can be used with its functional performance still intact. Different products and brands can have widely varying shelf lives with some having a very limited shelf-life and others coming from suppliers that are unable to provide accurate product longevity data. This is very important, since a product with an expired
shelf-life cannot be guaranteed to provide the level of wearer safety speciﬁ ed and their use could leave personnel with inadequate protection.
There is no ofﬁ cial norm describing how shelf life of PPE should be determined and therefore speciﬁ ers and users must ALWAYS CHECK what manufacturer tests have been conducted and what data is available to support claims relating to product life expectancy.
GARMENT STORAGE AND MAINTENANCE Both garments in storage and garments in use must be stored correctly in accordance with manufacturer s recommendations. Typically this will require that they are kept in clean, dry, secure conditions at temperatures of between 10-25°C preferably in a dedicated and sealed container or locker to minimise the risks of tampering, unauthorised use, and inadvertent damage. Direct exposure to sunlight for prolonged periods must be avoided and garments must always be visually inspected for damage before wearing.
It is recommended that a nominated person is put in charge of storage and maintenance to ensure that the responsibility is not overlooked or carried our ineffectively. Employees should be educated in the correct use of all PPE and must be responsible for reporting any loss, fault or damage.
It is the employers responsibility to ensure that appropriate PPE is available at all times to employees. It is important that a PPE review, rotation and replacement programme is in place to check that protection is available and that it is within its designated shelf-life.
Fabric Type Expected fabric shelf life (years)
Tyvek® 800 J 5
Tychem® C 10
Tychem® F 10
Tychem® F2 10
Tychem® TK 10
Tychem® 4000 S 5
In the case of Tyvek® and Tychem® products, DuPont has based its recommendations for operational shelf life upon accelerated-ageing tests on fabric tensile properties. Different fabrics were aged using an ASTM 572-88 test modiﬁ ed to incorporate higher temperatures (100°C vs 70°C) and higher pressures (300 psi vs 100 psi), to provide a more rigorous evaluation. The results of this evaluation conclude that Tyvek® and Tychem® fabrics retain physical strength and barrier properties over following years:
Annexe 9 73