Generally referred to under the category of Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE), respirator masks can protect health, prevent the spread of disease, and save lives.
If your employees are exposed to harmful gases, vapours and dust at work they could risk lung damage and other serious illnesses. Ensuring that all workers wear the appropriate RPE will prevent them from inhaling harmful substances and could result in better employee health and levels of productivity.
There are two main types of Respirator PPE
Respirators: these are filtering devices which use filters to remove contaminants (harmful substances) from the air that is inhaled
Breathing Apparatus: this requires a supply of quality air from an external, independent source
Situations when Respiratory Protection will be required include:
When employees are carrying out tasks such as cutting a material, handling a dusty powder, or welding stainless steels. All of these can result in harmful substances being released and contaminating the surrounding air. Respirators act as a filtering device for these contaminants and prevent them from being inhaled.
When oxygen levels drop or are limited such as when employees are working in confined spaces, especially for prolonged periods of time.
The correct fit is important for any type of PPE, yet it becomes critical with Respirator PPE. A poorly fitted or incorrectly used respirator mask will not work efficiently.
There are a wide range of respirator masks available offering different levels of protection from contaminants.
It’s important to check the features of the respirator masks that you are considering purchasing as there may be certain requirements to adhere to.
The following pieces of legislation contain requirements for RPE so it’s useful to consider whether these are likely to affect those working in your industry:
Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012;7
Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002;8
Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999;9
Confined Spaces Regulations 1997.