Respirator masks are essential for protecting the brief 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 year over year.Under are some personal respirator fundamentals that will help you pick the best respirator and breathe higher on each job.
1. Know the types of respirators available.
In line with OSHA, there are most important types of 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 include industrial plant workers, municipal road pavers and surfacers, hazardous material response professionals and welders and pipefitters.
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 essential types of air-purifying respirators:
Pro tip — The N95 mask is a commonly used respirator in this class, and is rated to filter 95% of particulates from the air.
Particulate respirators — Use this type of respirator when working round heavy quantities of mud, dust and non-poisonous vapors, resembling 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 in the air, equivalent to on construction sites throughout the painting application process.
Combination respirators — These respirators are dual goal and filter the air from each particulates and fumes. For instance, you must use a mix respirator on construction demolition sites as both dust and fumes could be present.
Pro tip — Gas and combination respirators require chemical cartridges to filter poisonous fumes. Cartridges are labeled using an industry-wide shade coding system to indicate which gases or vapors they’re capable for filtering. Use the chart below to guide you to the suitable cartridge.
Utilizing the suitable type of respirator is not only necessary to your personal safety, but may also provide help to comply with laws that limits worker publicity to silica dust. Be taught about the silica mud laws that went into effect in 2017.
2. Determine the respirator fit you need.
OSHA categorizes respirator fit between distinct categories: tight-fitting and loose-fitting. The respirator fit you want will depend upon the air quality in a work space. If the air is contaminated by toxic substance or is lacking oxygen, then it is said to be immediately harmful to life or health, or IDLH.
Must be worn in areas that are decided to be IDLH.
Are required by OSHA to be fit-tested by a qualified tester the first time it is worn and not less than once annually after that.
Can be worn in areas that are not decided to be IDLH.
Don’t have to be fit-tested in keeping with OSHA requirements.
3. Consider respirator size and seal.
A respirator must be the best size with a view to create a seal across the face. This is very true for tight-fitting respirators. Because all respirators fit differently, employers must provide a range of different respirator sizes and models for their crew in order to comply with OSHA regulations. A number of things that may compromise respirator seal together with:
Eyeglasses and safety goggles
Beards and facial hair
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