by Angela Beal
After the past few years, most people are familiar with wearing a mask or respirator. However, many are not aware of the various types and uses of respirators. In this article I would like to explain why they are necessary, who should be using them, and the proper way to wear them.
TYPES OF RESPIRATORS
Include - Disposable ones, like the N95. They protect against 95% of airborne particles. Reusable ones, called half masks and full-face respirators, use filter cartridges designed to protect against specific hazards in the environment.
Anyone working in an environment where they could be exposed to a respiratory hazard must wear a respirator. For instance, healthcare workers, firefighters, paint sprayers, and some construction workers would be included in this group.
The CSA Z220.127.116.11 requires any worker who wears a respirator to be fit tested. The fit testing procedure ensures the individual is wearing the respirator correctly and will be protected from the hazard associated with the type of work being performed. There are two types of fit testing, Quantitative and Qualitative. Quantitative uses a machine, which measures the air inside and outside the respirator to determine the proper fit. Qualitative is the process of using a testing solution to determine the respirators’ seal. If the person can taste the solution the mask is not fitting properly. It is important to understand that certification for a fit test is valid for only two years, as facial features can change due to diet, illness or dental work. Men must also be aware that facial hair can be very problematic for a proper fit. If a respirator is not fitting correctly there is little to no protection, leaving the person at risk of respiratory issues.
If you would like more information about respirators and fit testing call HRS Group Inc. at 705-749-1259 and speak to our inhouse expert on Qualitative Respirator Fit Testing.
For more information about Occupational Health and Safety, call our professional team.