Respirator masks are essential for protecting the brief and long-term lung health of trade professionals. Whether or not you’re a plumber, builder, HVAC contractor, painter, insulator or work in another space of the pro trade industry, there are quite a few 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.Below are some personal respirator basics that can assist you pick the right respirator and breathe better on each job.

1. Know the types of respirators available.

In keeping with OSHA, there are two main types of respirators:

Atmosphere-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 could embrace 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 utilized 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 ninety five% of particulates from the air.

Particulate respirators – Use this type of respirator when working round heavy amounts of dust, grime and non-toxic vapors, equivalent 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 in the air, comparable to on construction sites through the painting application process.

Mixture respirators – These respirators are dual goal and filter the air from each particulates and fumes. For instance, you should use a mixture respirator on construction demolition sites as each mud and fumes might be present.

Pro tip – Gas and mixture respirators require chemical cartridges to filter toxic fumes. Cartridges are labeled using an business-wide coloration coding system to indicate which gases or vapors they are capable for filtering. Use the chart under to guide you to the suitable cartridge.

Using the appropriate type of respirator isn’t only essential for your personal safety, but can also make it easier to comply with laws that limits worker publicity to silica dust. Learn concerning the silica dust laws that went into impact in 2017.

2. Decide the respirator fit you need.

OSHA categorizes respirator fit between two distinct categories: tight-fitting and loose-fitting. The respirator fit you need will depend upon 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 immediately dangerous to life or health, or IDLH.

Tight-fitting respirators

Must be worn in areas which can be determined to be IDLH.

Are required by OSHA to be fit-tested by a professional tester the first time it is worn and at the very least once yearly after that.

Loose-fitting respirators

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

Don’t must be fit-tested in accordance with OSHA requirements.

3. Consider respirator dimension and seal.

A respirator must be the appropriate measurement in order to create a seal around the face. This is especially true for tight-fitting respirators. Because all respirators fit in a different way, employers must provide a range of various respirator sizes and models for his or her crew in order to comply with OSHA regulations. A number of things that may compromise respirator seal including:

Eyeglasses and safety goggles

Beards and facial hair

Facial piercings

Dental gear

Facial construction

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