Archive for the ‘Respiratory Protection’ Category

Respiratory Protection: Compliance Myths!

July 30, 2015


Respiratory protection continues to gain attention and concern in the court of public opinion as issues like permissible exposure limits, silica, and beryllium  come to the forefront of OSHA rule proposals for updates or new regulations. While these changes from an enforceable standpoint may not take effect for quite some time, the accountability still falls to safety managers, to make sure their workers are being properly protected, regardless of what outdated regulations imply. Workers continue to come forward who are now suffering the serious effects of not being properly protected while working in the presence of harmful chemicals or debris.

In doing your part to protect your workers from devastating respiratory diseases later on in life, learn from these common missteps when selecting the right respirator for the job.

One Size Fits All. Not true, and in fact one size does not fit most either. All employees need to be fitted specifically for their face. Those who have beards, wear glasses, or need to wear other pieces of PPE, all of these factors must be considered to make sure they are being properly protected. Fit tests should be performed on a yearly basis to make sure there has been no changes, or need for adjustment.

As long as you have one on you’re fine! The respirator you choose can’t just be any old respirator laying around. It has to be suitable for the contaminant you are trying to protect against. Not all respirators are created equally. If protecting against a known contaminant refer to the SDS sheet that should come with all chemicals. If protecting against an airborne contaminant, test your environment to determine the severity and the correct type of respirator that is necessary. Once your contaminants have been identified then proceed to select the correct filter, cartridges and canisters.

They last forever! Think again. The use, storage, inspection, cleaning, disinfection, and repair of respirators all are determining factors in how long a respirator will remain acceptable for use. The more contaminant and time that a respirator is used the quicker it will deteriorate.  Some respirators have replaceable filters while others are disposal meant for single use. Know the type of respirator you are using and be sure the properly inspect it before each use. If soiled or damaged play it safe and get a new one.

Put it on your face and go forth and conquer! Not everyone can wear respirators. Breathing through a respirator is often times more difficult. People with existing breathing conditions such as asthma or emphysema may find themselves unable to catch their breath. In addition those with claustrophobia may have difficulty.

For more information on understanding respirators and how to select the right one click here.

Get Familiar with Respirator Types

September 25, 2014

The first respirator has been traced back to the first century when Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23-79) described the use of animal bladder skins to protect roman miners from red lead oxide dust. Needless to say we’ve come a long way in terms of respirator technology but the goal remains the same: prevent harmful particles from being inhaled. Respirators today come in a variety of forms.


Nowadays, there are 4 popular kinds of respirators separated by how they work: mechanical filter respirators, chemical cartridge respirators, powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR) and self-contained breathing apparatuses(SCBA).


Safety Threads: All PPE is NOT Created Equally

August 8, 2014


For every dollar spent on PPE OSHA estimates $4 are saved in costs from work-related health care and productivity losses. A coating, a textile structure, or interweaving of common place threads are all that stand between you and a life altering injury. Do you know exactly what goes into making these superhuman products? When developing products that will protect against hazards such as, a chemical spill, a fire, abrasion, or general workplace injury. There are many different approaches that go into protecting the end user.

Here are some important terms to know to help you better select your safety options in the future. When it comes to the selection of materials the rates below can differ depending on weight, density, weave, elasticity, and even color.

  •  Permeation rate: the rate at which the chemical will move through the material. For example a more tightly woven material will provide greater protection than a fabric you can see right through. The higher the permeation rate the less protective the material.
  • Breakthrough rate: the time it takes a chemical to permeate completely through the material. Breakthrough is measured using a standardized test ASTM F739
  • Degradation: measurement of the physical breakdown of a material due to contact with a chemical. The slower the rate the more protective the product is. Signs of degradation include swelling, stiffening, wrinkling, changes in color and other physical deterioration.
  • Inherent: materials that have resistance built into their chemical fiber structures. This can never be worn away or washed out. For example aramid fibers are lightweight and extraordinarily strong, with five times the strength of steel on an equal-weight basis.
  • Treated: materials that are made resistant by the application of chemical additives. These treatments wear over time and will no longer provide protection. For example polyethylene coatings are applied to materials to increase their ability to repel liquids, as well as dry particulates

It is important to remember that just because a product is certified doesn’t mean it is the best cost effective option. Naturally products with a longer breakthrough rate made up of inherent materials will cost more than treated products.

No industry is completely safe whether you work in healthcare, manufacturing, construction, mining, chemical handling; all of these industries come with their own set of dangers. Keep in mind, there is no single solution to protect against all hazards, make sure the product you are selecting matches the hazard you are protecting against.

Dress for Safety! Use PPE to Prevent Injuries and Save Lives!

January 2, 2014

Wherever there is modern industry, there is risk of accident and injury. And yet through this danger — some of it fatal — people literally build the foundations of modern society and economy.

It’s your responsibility as a business owner to attend to your workers safety as best as you can, and one of the best ways to do that is through the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Fall Protection

Protect yourself from construction’s top killer — a long fall!

Selecting the right kind of PPE can be complex and time-consuming. That’s why it’s usually simpler to match your choice of PPE with the threats your workers face.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) pays careful attention to every accident report, enforces safety standards, and regularly releases its own safety statistics. From their list of the top ten OSHA violations emerge the Fatal Four — the four most common causes of fatal accidents in the construction industry — and some PPE measures you can use to mitigate their dangers.


Spic-and-span: How to Clean Respirators

December 10, 2013

Investing in respirators is pointless if you can’t maximize their use. To effectively filter out air contaminants, make sure your respirators are squeaky clean.

North 7600 Silicone Full Face Respirator

TAKE HEED. Improper cleaning can damage your respirator mask.

As a universal rule, follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If unavailable, you can adhere to these general guidelines provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to clean your full face respirator:



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