Inhalation of toxic materials can lead to serious respiratory illnesses. Respirators are essential in some workplaces to protect workers from inhaling these harmful substances.
However, no matter how well designed a mask is, it will not be effective if it is not used in the right situation. Choosing the right mask is essential to providing the best protection in the workplace.
Choosing The Right Respirator
Assess The Hazards
An inspection should be completed to identify any airborne hazards of the workplace. Airborne hazards can include:
- Particles, e.g. dust or fibres
- Gas or vapours, e.g. chemical vapours
- A combination of both
What Are The Exposure Levels?
As well as determining the hazards present, the exposure levels of these hazards should be measured. This is commonly reported in parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per cubic metre (mg/m3), usually over a determined period of time.
What Level Of Protection Is Required?
Respirators are generally classified by what they protect against and how well they protect against it. Respirators should also align with compliance requirements outlined by the relevant governing bodies.
Image via: CleanSpace
Types Of Respirators
Respirators work in two main ways. Air Purifying Respirators (APRs) filter harmful substances from ambient air. This contrasts with Atmosphere Supplying Respirators (ASRs), where breathing air is supplied by an independent source, such as an airline or tank.
Negative Versus Positive Pressure Respirators
Negative pressure respirators rely on the user to draw ambient air through the mask, however this can put strain on the user. Conversely, positive pressure respirators provide air to the respirator, making it easier to breathe. This can be achieved through a powered system or by supplied air.
Tight Versus Loose Fitting Respirators
Tight-fitting respirators rely on a tight seal between the user and the respirator to prevent unfiltered air from reaching the user. They are usually half- or full-faced. Loose-fitting respirators cover the entire face or head, and so do not require a tight seal. Clean air is delivered from an outside air supply.
The Fit Test
Respirator masks are ineffective if fitted incorrectly. A fit test is an important safety measure to assess the respiratory seal and fit.
The CleanSpace Respirators
Choosing the right respirator depends on the situation.
The gold standard in Personal Respiratory Protection for workers in general industrial environments
The gold standard in Personal Respiratory Protection for workers in environments requiring face/eye protection and water tolerance.
The gold standard in Personal Protection for people working in potentially explosive environments.
The gold standard in Personal Respiratory Protection for workers in clinical settings.
Other Factors To Consider
Aside from choosing the appropriate respirator, it’s important to consider other factors that protect workers. This includes fitting the respirator with other personal protective equipment (PPE), standardised protocols, user training, and more.
Get The Right Respirator
Personal protective equipment should both be comfortable and perform well in the workplace. CleanSpace respirators are designed for high protection, comfort, and safety.
Need help choosing the right respirator? Speak to the team at CleanSpace.