Personal Protective Equipment - Respiratory
By: The Working Man
A respirator of any type is designed to protect the wearer from
breathing hazardous air. Respirators protect by either removing
the contaminants from the air before the air is breathed or by
providing an independent source of breathable air.
A respirator that cleans the air as you breathe it is called an
air-purifying respirator. One that provides clean air itself is
called an atmosphere-supplying respirator.
Which type of respirator you need is determined by the type of
dangerous atmosphere and the job you have been assigned. Your
employer will probably provide you with the type of respirator
needed for the particular job site, but whether he does or not,
you should know something about this equipment on which you life
may depend. See more info on How to
According to OSHA, the Occupational Safety & Health
Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor, "An estimated 5
million workers are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million
workplaces throughout the United States. Respirators protect
workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts,
fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors, and sprays. These hazards may
cause cancer, lung impairment, other diseases, or death.
Compliance with the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard could
avert hundreds of deaths and thousands of illnesses annually."
A respirator, if used correctly, can reduce or prevent illness
and death if you are exposed to toxic chemicals or other
dangerous air conditions by blocking the toxins in the air. But
in order for your respirator to be effective, you need to make
sure that you have the correct respirator for the job, it is
available and ready to use when you need it, you have been
trained how to use it properly and that you store it according to
the manufacturers directions.
There are a number of types of respirators and each has its own
proper use instructions and restrictions. Some respirators use a
nose clip and mouthpiece that you clench between your teeth, some
must be tightly fitted to the face and can't be used with a
moustache or beard, some allow speech and some don't. All
respirators require proper training to be used correctly.
We will go into further detail about the various types of
respirators and the dangers from which they can protect you in
other articles on this website.
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