The selection of respiratory equipment follows a basic four-step method:
Identify the Hazards – dust, metal fume, gas, vapour etc.
Assess the Risk – assess the hazard levels against safety standards and consider other protection – eg skin, eye and body.
Select the right Respirator – disposable, reusable, half mask, full face, powered, supplied-air.
Train in Fitting and Use – to optimise respiratory protection.
Reusable Respiratory Equipment requires regular checks and maintenance to ensure optimum performance and protection for the wearer.
In addition to potentially reducing protection levels, poor maintenance can also reduce the effective lifetime of the equipment, resulting in the additional cost of replacement. Guidance on the appropriate checks is provided in the instruction booklets with each new item.
Respirators are most effective when there is a good seal between the edges of the respirator and the face. The instant this seal is broken, protection is compromised as contaminated air can leak in through any gaps.