Top three tips for selecting the perfect respirator masks

6.01.2022

Respirator masks are essential for protecting the quick and lengthy-term lung health of trade professionals. Whether you’re a plumber, builder, HVAC contractor, painter, insulator or work in another space of the pro trade business, there are numerous potential breathing hazards on any given jobsite. These workplace hazards factor into why failing to properly use respiratory protection continues to land on OSHA’s top 10 safety violations 12 months over year.Beneath are some personal respirator fundamentals that will help you pick the proper respirator and breathe higher on every job.

1. Know the types of respirators available.

According to OSHA, there are important types of respirators:

Ambiance-supplying respirators

Areas that have contaminated air or have limited or no oxygen require this type of respirator. Occupations that require this type of respirator may embody industrial plant workers, municipal road pavers and surfacers, hazardous material response professionals and welders and pipefitters.

Air-purifying respirators

This type of respirator is commonly used by trade professionals. Air-purifying respirators filter contaminants out of the air as you breathe. There are three primary types of air-purifying respirators:

Pro tip — The N95 mask is a commonly used respirator in this category, and is rated to filter ninety five% of particulates from the air.

Particulate respirators — Use this type of respirator when working round heavy quantities of mud, dirt and non-toxic vapors, akin to when sanding wood or hanging fiberglass insulation.

Gas and vapor respirators — Use this type of respirator when working in areas which have high levels of gases and vapor within the air, reminiscent of on development sites in the course of the painting application process.

Mixture respirators — These respirators are dual purpose and filter the air from each particulates and fumes. For example, it is best to use a combination respirator on building demolition sites as both dust and fumes may very well be present.

Pro tip — Gas and combination respirators require chemical cartridges to filter toxic fumes. Cartridges are labeled using an trade-wide color coding system to point which gases or vapors they’re capable for filtering. Use the chart under to guide you to the precise cartridge.

Utilizing the fitting type of respirator will not be only vital to your personal safety, however may assist you to comply with laws that limits worker publicity to silica dust. Study concerning the silica dust legislation that went into effect in 2017.

2. Decide the respirator fit you need.

OSHA categorizes respirator fit between distinct classes: tight-fitting and loose-fitting. The respirator fit you need will rely on the air quality in a work space. If the air is contaminated by poisonous substance or is lacking oxygen, then it is said to be instantly harmful to life or health, or IDLH.

Tight-fitting respirators

Should be worn in areas which are determined to be IDLH.

Are required by OSHA to be fit-tested by a qualified tester the first time it is worn and no less than as soon as yearly after that.

Loose-fitting respirators

Can be worn in areas that aren’t decided to be IDLH.

Do not must be fit-tested according to OSHA requirements.

3. Consider respirator measurement and seal.

A respirator must be the best dimension to be able to create a seal across the face. This is very true for tight-fitting respirators. Because all respirators fit otherwise, employers should provide a range of different respirator sizes and models for his or her crew in order to comply with OSHA regulations. Several things that can compromise respirator seal including:

Eyeglasses and safety goggles

Beards and facial hair

Facial piercings

Dental gear

Facial structure

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