Posts Tagged ‘respirators’

The Right Questions to Ask About Respirator Safety in the Workplace

respirator safety

Clean air can easily be taken for granted, and when working in areas with hazardous particles or gasses, using the proper respirator to assist with breathing is literally a life or death matter. Choosing a respirator can be a complicated process especially if you aren’t armed with the proper information about the hazards you are trying to protect against.

Before trying to select a respirator for the job at hand, be sure you have identified the respiratory hazard, evaluated the hazard thoroughly, and have considered whether engineering or substitution controls are possible.

Ask the following questions about your workplace to get the selection process started.

  • What activities will the worker be doing while wearing the respirator (e.g., strenuous work)?
  • What are the characteristics of the operation or the process (e.g., hot temperature, confined space)?
  • Is it to be used in firefighting or emergencies?
  • How long will the worker need to wear the respirator?
  • Does the selected respirator fit the worker properly?
  • Where is the nearest safe area that has clean air?
  • Is it to be used in oxygen-deficient atmospheres (less than 18% oxygen in air; some jurisdictions say below 19.5%)?
  • What is the nature of the hazard (chemical properties, concentration in the air, warning properties)?
  • Is there more than one contaminant (i.e. a mixture or more than one chemical is present)?
  • What are the health effects of the airborne contaminant (carcinogenic, potentially lethal, irritating to eyes, absorbed through the skin)?
  • Is the airborne contaminant a gas, vapor or particulate (mist, dust or fume)?
  • Are the airborne levels below or above the exposure limit, or are they above levels that could be immediately dangerous to life or health?

Refer to the SDS for guidance on requirements of particular respiratory hazards around your facility if more hazard information is needed. When you are ready to begin making your respirator decision visit additional help and information on NIOSH approved respirators.

How to Fit an N95 Respirator Mask properly

Moldex 2360P100 Particulate Respirator

A properly selected respirator is essential to protect your health. It will not protect against fumes, gases or vapors. It must be worn in well ventilated areas containing sufficient oxygen to support life. If the user has any illnesses or disorders, consult a licensed medical doctor to determine suitability of use.

There are many brands and options to choose from—disposable or reusable.  The Disposable are available with or without an exhalation valve. The exhalation valve allows easier breathing for long-term wear.

Before using any N95 respirator, consult an Occupational Safety Professional or Industrial Hygienist to determine its suitability for your intended use. Always, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for fitting the respirator to the face.

3M Particulate Respirator 8511, N95

Here are some N95 Mask Fitting Instructions:

  1. Hold the respirator in hand with the nosepiece at your fingertips, allowing the headband to hang freely below your hand.
  2. Press the respirator firmly against your face with the nosepiece on the bridge of your nose.
  3. Stretch and position the top band high on the back of your head. Stretch the bottom band over the head and position below your ears.
  4. Using both hands, mold the metal nosepiece to the shape of your nose.
  5. To test fit, cup both hands over the respirator and exhale vigorously. If air flows around your nose, tighten the nosepiece; if air leaks around the edges, reposition the straps for a better fit.
  6. Remember, careful observance of these fitting instructions is an important step in safe respirator use.

For further info, check out the following links:


Submitted by: Donna Kolody/Emedco – Custom, Safety & Marking Solutions- Your Way, Today, Guaranteed!