How to Choose Respiratory Protection Equipment
When choosing the type of respiratory protection equipment that
you will need for a job you will have to take several factors
Not all respiratory equipment are created equal and some only protect
against one particular substance. You will have to find out
exactly what dangers you will be exposed to and then decide what
type of respirator you will need on that particular job.
Here is a list of the most common types of respirators:
* Paper Masks/Disposable Respirators
* Free Standing HEPA Filters
* Air Purifying Respirators
* Filtering Self-Rescue
* Gas Filtering Absorption
* Chemical Cartridge Respirators
* Particulate Filter
* Self Contained Breathing Apparatus
* Supplied-Air Respirators
* Escape Masks
After deciding on the type of respirator you will need, you will
also have to select the brand that you want to use. This choice
usually has more to do with fit than the brand itself. Most RPE
is made from rubber. Be sure to inspect the rubber to make sure
that it is supple, with no cracks or bends. The RPE should fit
flush to your face with no gaps.
Men, keep in mind that when you try on the RPE you must have a
clean shaven face. Respiratory Protective Equipment can not
function properly over facial hair. Also, if you wear glasses or
contacts and they are necessary for your vision you will have to
wear a helmet or hood RPE. Remember that if you are going to be
going into a place that may be oxygen deficient then you will
need an air supplied respirator.
Prior to using the RPE you must have the RPE fitted to you and be
training on the proper use of the RPE. During training you should
learn how to fit the RPE to yourself, how to maintain the RPE so
that it functions at top function, and how to use the RPE on the
job. It is very important that you learn all three of these
before you are required to wear RPE. The company should insist on
training and you will have to be retrained or have a refresher
course and inspection once a year.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself about your job
site that requires RPE:
- To what harmful dusts, gases and vapors will you be exposed?
- What types of respirators are available for purchase in your area?
- What maintenance procedures are required for the respirator
- Will you be diligent in the care of your respirator?
Choose only a respirator that has been approved by NIOSH
(National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health.) It should
also be approved by the MSHA or the Mine Safety and Health
Administration. (If you are outside the United States, insert the
appropriate agencies for your country.) This should be written on
the packaging of the respirator and there should be a test
certified number on the respirator.
Again, choosing a respirator takes careful thought and
consideration and is not a decision that should be rushed. There
are a lot of types and brands of respirators to choose from and
you should match the respirator to the job you will be doing.
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