The Importance Of The Selection, Use And Care Of Your Resusable Respirator

A respirator is a piece of personal protection equipment (PPE) that is worn on the face. Its job is to remove contaminants from the air so that the person wearing the respirator doesn’t breathe them in. Respirators protect against such contaminants as dust, fibres, fumes, mists, gases, vapour, bacteria, viruses and fungi.

As its name makes clear, a half-face respirator covers half of the face. It primarily blocks larger solid particles like dust, dirt and fibres and protects against minor splashes as well. Half-face respirators have an Assigned Protection Factor (APF) rating of 10. This refers to the level of respiratory protection that a respirator or class of respirators is expected to provide. Naturally, a full-face respirator completely encapsulates the face, eyes, nose and mouth. These masks have an APF rating of 50.

What should be considered when choosing a reusable respirator?

As the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) informs, all employers should have written respirator programs. They should describe the proper procedures for selecting and operating respiratory protective equipment. The program should address how to detect hazards in the workplace and how much protection the workers will need. It should also describe how to wear and look after the respirator.

A complete respiratory protection program helps workers to understand how to receive the best protection from a respirator. Making the correct choice will also come by way of having a qualified health care professional examine the medical and psychological fitness of each worker. Employees must all be both physically fit and psychologically comfortable to carry out their work while wearing respiratory equipment.

What is the proper way to use and determine your size for a reusable respirator?

Firstly, it’s important to ensure that respirator is clean. You should also check to see that it is in good condition before each use. Inspect the condition of its parts, the tightness of the connections and its end-of-service life indicator, if it has one. Always follow the directions of the manufacturer when putting on the respirator.

“In general, adjust the straps so that the respirator fits tightly but does not dig into your face or leave red marks on your skin,” instructs the CCOHS, “The respirator should feel snug but comfortable. Straps should be placed under a hard hat or hood. Position the straps correctly – one strap should go above the ears and over the crown of your head, and the other below the ears and around the neck. If the respirator has adjustable straps, tighten or loosen them without removing the respirator.”

In order to meet Occupational Health and Safety (OHSA) standards,  by law a mask fit certification must be performed with a respirator.  This 2-year mask fit certification will cover how to properly care for a respirator, don/doff a respirator, perform a proper self-check, and most importantly validate/certify that a particular respirator brand/model number  (ie 3M 6200(M), Honeywell 5400(L), etc) seals properly to your face.  This certification process, ensures optimal protection can be achieved when donning and using this personal product equipment (PPE)

How should you care for your reusable respirator?

Clean and disinfect your respirator after each use. Remove any filters or cartridges and inspect the facepiece to identify any damage or excessive wear. You can manually clean the facepiece by immersing it in water not hotter than 49°C. Avoid cleaners containing lanolin or other oils, scrub it with a soft brush until it’s clean. Rinse the respirator thoroughly with warm water. Air dry and store it in a non-contaminated area.

The only way to properly learn to put on or don a resuable respirator is to take a mask fit certification course. At MaskFit Plus, we provide Mask Fit Testing Certifications that are approved by Occupational Health and Safety (OHSA). We deliver Qualitative Fit Testing (QFLT) certifications at either our locations or your premises. We also offer such Personal Protective Equipment including half-face and full-face respirators.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 289-643-6222 or fill out the form on our Contact Us page!

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