Respiratory Protection - Respirator Safety

Respiratory Protection program, hazard assessment and selection of respiratory protective equipment is done in the same manner as for other types of personal protective equipment. In the control of those occupational diseases caused by breathing air contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors, the primary objective should be to prevent atmospheric contamination. When effective engineering controls are not feasible, or while they are being instituted, appropriate respirators must be used. References: OSHA Standards Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134)

Respirator Type Pros & Con

This information presents advantages and disadvantages of various types of respiratory protection devices

Disposable Particulate Respirators

The NIOSH-certified disposable respirators labeled N, R, or P and may be obtained with or without exhalation valves. Most manufacturers also produce them in different sizes. A face shield may also be used in conjunction with a half-mask disposable respirator for protection against airborne flying material and fluids.

Advantages

1. The respirator is disposable and most models require no cleaning or maintenance.
2. The respirator is light weight and fairly comfortable to wear.

Assemble any equipment-audiovisuals, samples of PPE, handouts, etc.-in advance.

Disadvantages

1. The respirator is a negative-pressure device using the suction produced by inhalation to draw air through the filter. The inhalation process, even under the best of circumstances, will allow some contaminated air to leak into the facepiece.
2. A respirator with exhalation valves cannot be used when working in a cleanroom/sterile environments. The exhalation valve allows droplets and particles exhaled by the user to escape and potentially contaminate the work area. These respirators are also available without exhalation valves.

Replaceable Particulate Filter Respirators

Half-Mask Replaceable Particulate Filter Respirator

This respirator has single or dual filters made of the same material as the N, R, and P disposable respirators (HEPA filters can also be used). Most manufacturers produce more than one size. A face shield may also be used in conjunction with a half-mask particulate filter respirator.

Advantages

A. The respirator is lightweight and does not restrict mobility.
B. The respirator is made of rubber or elastomer and is durable. Only the filters need to be replaced when necessary.

Disadvantages

1. The respirator must be routinely inspected, cleaned, disinfected, and repaired.
2. The respirator is a negative-pressure device using the suction produced by inhalation to draw air through the filter. The inhalation process, even under the best of circumstances, will allow some contaminated air to leak into the facepiece.
3. Communication may be difficult.
4. The respirator cannot be used in areas where a clean or sterile field is required.

Full Face piece Replaceable Particulate Filter Respirator

The respirator can be equipped with the N, R, or P filters (HEPA filters can also be used). It is also manufactured in more than one size.

Advantages

1. The respirator provides a better seal than the half-mask and with HEPA or 100 series filter is more protective.
2. The respirator is durable.
3. The respirator provides eye protection.

Disadvantages

1. The respirator cannot be used in areas where a sterile field is required.
2. The respirator must be inspected, cleaned, and repaired.
3. The respirator is a negative-pressure device using the suction produced by inhalation to draw air through the filter. The inhalation process, even under the best of circumstances, will allow some contaminated air to leak into the facepiece.
4. Communication may be difficult.
5. Special lens kits are required for those respirator users who wear glasses.

Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR)

Tight-Fitting PAPR

Equipment is battery operated, consists of a half or full facepiece, breathing tube, battery-operated blower, and particulate filters (HEPA only). A PAPR uses a blower to pass contaminated air through a HEPA filter, which removes the contaminant and supplies purified air to a facepiece. A PAPR is not a true positive-pressure device because it can be over-breathed when inhaling.

Advantages

1. The respirator is more protective than a half-mask respirator.
2. The respirator is usually more comfortable because air is forced into the mask by the blower, producing a cooling effect.
3. The respirator is durable.
4. Breathing resistance is lower.

Disadvantages

1. The respirator cannot be used where a clean or sterile field is required because it has an exhalation valve and in some cases air can exit around the face seal.
2. Batteries must be recharged and maintained to assure proper flow rates into the mask.
3. The respirator must be inspected, cleaned, and repaired.
4. Communication may be a problem.
5. A PAPR may be bulky and noisy.

Loose Fitting PAPR

This respirator consists of a hood or helmet, breathing tube, battery-operated blower, and HEPA filters.

Advantages

1. More protective than a half-mask respirator.
2. The respirator is more comfortable because it is loose-fitting.
3. Provides a cooling effect in the hood or helmet.
4. The respirator is durable.
5. Breathing resistance is lower.
6. Vision may be better.
7. Can be worn with facial hair as long as facial hair does not interfere with valve or function of the respirator.

Disadvantages

1. The equipment cannot be used where a sterile field must be maintained because air exits around the hood or helmet.
2. Batteries must be charged and maintained.
3. The respirator must be inspected, cleaned, and repaired.
4. Communication may be difficult.
5. A PAPR may be bulky and noisy.

Positive-Pressure Supplied-Air Respirators

Fixed Air Supply

Supplied-air respirators use compressed air from a stationary source delivered through a hose under pressure to a half-mask or a full facepiece. A face shield may also be used in conjunction with a half-mask airline respirator for protection against body fluids.

Advantages

1. The respirator is much more protective because it provides positive pressure in the facepiece and almost all leakage is outward. A positive-pressure supplied-air respirator should be used when disposable respirators, replaceable respirators, or PAPRs do not provide adequate protection.
2. Breathing resistance is minimal.
3. The respirator is relatively comfortable to wear.

Disadvantages

1. The airline hose restricts the user's mobility.
2. This respirator exhausts air contaminated by the user and should not be worn during clean or sterile procedures.
3. The respirator must be inspected, cleaned, and repaired.
4. Communication may be difficult.
5. Requires installation and maintenance of a regulated compressed air supply for Grade D breathing air.
6. Maintenance requires highly skilled, technically trained personnel.
7. Length of hose and connection point must be adequate to prevent exposure to airborne contaminates when removing the respirator.

Pressure Demand - Air Tank Supplied Respirators

This equipment is generally referred to as Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA). The user dons a harness that supports a breathing air tank and pressure regulator devices. Full face masks are used with this type equipment. Used for emergency response situations.

Advantages

1. The respirator provides for mobility and may be used in a forced-air mode.
2. Allows personnel to work in areas in which filter respirators would not provide protection.
3. Breathing resistance is minimal in forced-air mode.
4. Allows user to enter and exit contaminated areas without disconnecting from air source

Disadvantages

1. The tank and harness is heavy.
2. Limited use time based on exhaustion of tank air supply.
3. This respirator exhausts air contaminated by the user and should not be worn during clean or sterile procedures.
4. The respirator must be inspected, cleaned, and repaired.
5. Communication may be difficult.
6. Requires installation and maintenance of a regulators and compressed air tanks with Grade D breathing air.
7. Maintenance requires highly skilled, technically trained personnel.

OSHA requires that voluntary use of respirators, when not required by an employer, must be controlled as strictly as under required circumstances. To prevent violations of the Respiratory Protection Standard Employees should not be allowed voluntary use of their own or company supplied respirators unless they are under the full control of the Respiratory Protection Program.

Respiratory Protection Program Evaluation

Evaluations of the workplace are necessary to ensure that the written respiratory protection program is being properly implemented, this includes consulting with employees to ensure that they are using the respirators properly. Evaluations should be conducted to ensure that the provisions of the current written program are being effectively implemented and that it continues to be effective Program evaluation includes discussions with employees required to use respirators to assess the employees' views on program effectiveness and to identify any problems. Factors to be assessed include, but are not limited to:
Appropriate respirator selection for the hazards to which the employee is exposed;
Proper respirator use under the workplace conditions the employee encounters; and proper respirator maintenance.

Selection of Respirators

Respiratory hazards in each workplace, must be identified and relevant workplace and user factors and Assigned Protection Factors must be used as a basis for respirator selections. Include estimates of employee exposures to respiratory hazards and an identification of the contaminant's chemical state and physical form. All selected respirators must be NIOSH-certified .

No respirator can provide 100% effectiveness. OSHA has implemented Assigned Protection Factors (APFs) for various types of respirators. The purpose of APFs is to ensure use of respirators does not cause over-exposure to specific contaminants. Maximum permissible exposure levels (PEL) are generally based on specific concentrations over an 8 hour daily period without using a respirator.

All materials in the members area for this topic index

Program Material

Programs (written)
(2)
 Respiratory Protection Policy   Download  MS-WORD
 Respiratory Protection Safety Program   Download  MS-WORD
Program Development
(1)
 Respiratory Program Development   Download  MS-WORD
Fact Sheets
(12)
 Assigned Protection Factors OSHA 2009 Safety Topic Fact Sheet   Download  MS-WORD
 Carbon Monoxide Safety Topic Fact Sheet   Download  MS-WORD
 Personal Emergency Respirator   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirator Assigned Protection Factors Apf Safety Topic Fact Sheet   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirator Cleaning Safety Topic Fact Sheet   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirator Fact Sheet For Preparedness Purchases Safety Topic Fact Sheet   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirator Fit Test Protocol Safety Topic Fact Sheet   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirator Fit Test Safety Topic Fact Sheet   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirator Selection Safety Topic Fact Sheet   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirator Type Pros And Cons Safety Topic Fact Sheet   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirator User Seal Check Procedures Safety Topic Fact Sheet   Download  MS-WORD
 Respiratory Protection Safety Topic Fact Sheet   Download  MS-WORD

Forms & Documents

Audits
(2)
 Accident Investigation Audit Guide   Download  MS-WORD
 Respiratory Protection Audit Guide   Download  MS-WORD
Checklists
(2)
 Filter Respirators Supervisor Safety Checklist   Download  MS-WORD
 Respiratory Protection Supervisor Safety Checklist   Download  MS-WORD
Forms
(5)
 Respirator Fit Test Record Form   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirator Medical Firstaid Questionnaire Form   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirator Schedule Form   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirator Training Certificate Form   Download  MS-WORD
 Respiratory Program Administrator Form   Download  MS-WORD
Inspections
(3)
 Air Purifying Respirator Inspection Form   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirator Spare Bottle Inspection Form   Download  MS-WORD
 Scba Inspection Form   Download  MS-WORD

Training Material

Crossword Puzzle
(2)
 Respirator Crossword Answer Key   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirator Crossword   Download  MS-WORD
Handouts
(3)
 Respiratory Protection In Construction   Download  MS-WORD
 Respiratory Training Handout Spanish   Download  MS-WORD
 Respiratory Training Handout   Download  MS-WORD
Management
(1)
 Management White Paper Hexavalent Chromium   Download  MS-WORD
Outlines
(1)
 Respiratory Protection Training Outline   Download  MS-WORD
PowerPoints
(16)
 40 Hour HAZWOPER PowerPoint Spanish   Download  MS-PPT
 40 hour HAZWOPER PowerPoint   Download  MS-PPT
 Asbestos Overview PowerPoint   Download  MS-PPT
 Dust Mask Respirators PowerPoint   Download  MS-PPT
 HAZWOPER 8Hr Operations PowerPoint Spanish   Download  MS-PPT
 HAZWOPER 8Hr Operations PowerPoint   Download  MS-PPT
 Half and Full Face Respirators PowerPoint   Download  MS-PPT
 Hazardous Waste Management Training PowerPoint Spanish   Download  MS-PPT
 Hazardous Waste Management Training PowerPoint   Download  MS-PPT
 Mold Control   Download  MS-PPT
 Mold Control   Download  MS-PPT
 Respiratory Protection PowerPoint Spanish   Download  MS-PPT
 Respiratory Protection PowerPoint   Download  MS-PPT
 Silica Hazards PowerPoint   Download  MS-PPT
 Supplied Air Respirators PowerPoint   Download  MS-PPT
 Working with Chemical Solvents PowerPoint   Download  MS-PPT
Reminders/Overheads
(12)
 Respirators 1 Reminder   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirators Cleaning Reminder   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirators Fit Check Reminder   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirators Hazards Reminder   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirators Operations Reminder   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirators P Cleaning Reminder   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirators P Fitcheck Reminder   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirators P Hazards Reminder   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirators P Operations Reminder   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirators P Pre Use Reminder   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirators Pre Use Reminder   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirators Precautions Reminder   Download  MS-WORD
Supervisor
(1)
 3brief Respirators Filter Basics   Download  MS-WORD
Talks
(3)
 Accidents Talk   Download  MS-WORD
 PPE Rep Prog Talk   Download  MS-WORD
 Resp Fit Test Talk   Download  MS-WORD

Awareness

Posters
(2)
 Poster Filter Resp   Download  MS-WORD
 Poster PPE Ware 11 15 99   Download  MS-WORD
Safety Comic Strip
(8)
 Comic Archive Respirator Safety Comic Strip   Download  MS-WORD
 Resp Breathing Safety Comic Strip Spanish   Download  MS-WORD
 Resp Fit Safety Comic Strip Spanish   Download  MS-WORD
 Resp Inspect Safety Comic Strip Spanish   Download  MS-WORD
 Resp Limits Safety Comic Strip Spanish   Download  MS-WORD
 Resp Store Safety Comic Strip Spanish   Download  MS-WORD
 Resp Supply Safety Comic Strip Spanish   Download  MS-WORD
 Respirator Clean Safety Comic Strip Spanish   Download  MS-WORD

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