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Frequently Asked Questions

The recommendation will depend on the type of welding, the working environment, whether any ventilation is in place etc. Please contact our Sales Team on or telephone 01461 202452.

Alpha Solway have developed a Qualitative Face Fit Test Kit. For more information please refer to our Face Fit Test Kit section.

Simply, an FFP3 will offer greater protection than FFP2 and FFP1. An FFP1 has an Assigned Protection Factor (APF) of 4, FFP2 has an APF of 10 and an FFP3 has an APF of 20.

Selection of the most appropriate respirator depends on the contaminant and Occupational Exposure Level (OEL) and guidance should always be sought. You can use our Respirator Selector Guide for initial guidance but please contact us direct for more specific information.

All disposable respirators and half masks fitted with particulate filters can be tested. Please contact us on 01461 202452 for more information.

The valve helps lower the temperature inside the mask and also reduces condensation caused by the mask on wearers’ spectacles.

A disposable respirator will last for a maximum eight-hour shift or until the wearer finds the breathing resistance is too great.

The current standard is EN149:2001+A1:2009, although respirators are still legally in the marketplace under the previous EN149:2001 standard.

Simply, the new standard combines solid and liquid test methods for each respirator, but precisely:

Under the old EN149 standard the classifications were FFP1S, FFP2S, FFP2SL, FFP3S and FFP3SL. These have now been superseded by just FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3.

Previously, whilst the old ‘S’ type respirator protected only against solid and non-volatile liquid particles, the ‘SL’ type had also to protect against oil based mists. This could potentially lead users to select by mistake an ‘S’ model instead of the correct ‘SL’ model when one or more of the hazards was an oil based mist.

Today with the new standard in place all models conforming to EN149:2001 must offer protection against all of the hazards mentioned previously, which can only decrease the risk to the health and safety of the end user.

Until recently, this has been a big problem for end users, with most manufacturers having just a few basic styles to select from. Alpha Solway offer a system called “chem cre8” which allows end users to create a garment style to suit their own exacting requirements, including the ability to change the sleeve, leg, zip, hood designs with ease. With additonal colours, ancillaries and reflective tape configurations also available, the possibilities are almost endless.

A chemical suit can last from a few minutes to several years. The life of garment depends on the mechanical stresses and strains, together with the chemical contact that the suit will endure as well as correct storage and maintenance procedures being followed. There is no definitive answer to this.

This depends on your Risk Assessment. Key issues may be, the type(s) and concentration(s) of chemical(s) in use; whether you need to have protection against splash or constant contact; the length of time the suit is to be worn; the mechanical strength of the suit …. etc. Alpha Solway can offer key performance data against both to enable a more informed decision to be made.

Washing instructions are simple …. rinse and drip dry. Done correctly, this will improve safety and extend the life of the garment significantly, saving money! Instructions are packed with each suit and supplementary information is available. Contact our Sales Team for more details.

A damaged or contaminated garment offers little protection against an aggressive chemical. Regular checks and good operator awareness of the issues should be standard practice and should very much be part of your supply and management regime.

Firstly, if it doesn’t meet EN465, EN466, EN467 or EN14605 then you are unlikely to be covered. Secondly, it depends very much on what tasks are being done. Some garments offer “full body” protection (EN465, EN466 or EN14605) and others offer just “part body” protection (EN467 and EN14605 [PB]). There is also a significent difference between “Type 3 (Liquid Tight) EN466 and EN14605” and “Type 4 (Spray Tight) EN465 and EN14605” garments.

If you use just waterproof clothing, this often has breathe holes and other serious design flaws which are not ideal for hazardous chemical protection. Chemical Protective Clothing will be CE marked and comply with EN Standards such as EN465, EN466, EN467 or EN14605 and this can only really be chosen once a full risk assessment / hazard identification has taken place.

Even at low concentrations, chemicals such as Hydrochloric Acid, Caustics and Sodium Hypochlorite can cause skin and eye irritations and at higher concentrations serious injuries. Chemical Protective Clothing is still required even against fairly weak or diluted chemical solutions.

Fats and oils from food stuffs contain substances which can quickly break down many fabrics, including PVC, resulting in chemical exposure to the operative. Chemsol HG offers enhanced resistance against these products and also complies with the latest BS EN 14605 Chemical Protective Clothing standard.

It is both good practice and a legal requirement to carry out a full Risk Assessment before providing the necessary PPE.

Yes we can. We do need to know what circumstances the chemicals are being used in and at what concentration so that we can advise which of our chemical clothing would be most suitable. The more information you can supply the better, particularly if you can supply a chemical data sheet. Each of our garment User Information Sheets supply details of some chemical breakthrough times and you can contact our Sales Office on or by telephone 01461 202452 for information.

We are happy to quote for ‘bespoke’ garments which are different to our standard designs and sizes. Please contact our Sales Team with specific details of your enquiry by e-mail or telephone 01461 202452.

BS EN 533 is a British Standard which covers garments offering protection against flame and heat – limited flame spread (materials and material assemblies). Our Chemsol Plus range conforms to BS EN 533 Index 1. However, BS EN 531 offers greater protection and our Chemsol531 range of clothing has been developed specifically to offer greater protection to workers exposed to heat. Please refer to our Chemsol531 section and contact our sales office for further details or 01461 202452.

Yes – we have a system called Glovezon. This works by us adapting the sleeve of the garment being worn (the complete garment needs to be made-to-order) which then allows for various types of glove to be attached to the garment and provide a spray tight seal to stop seepage. A Glovezon kit also needs to be purchased with the suit for this. For further information please refer to our Glovezon section and contact our Sales Team.