Respirator Safety

Posted by Matt Bushey in #YHSafetyTips, Nov 29, 2017

Respirators are important for breathing where contaminates are present in the air. They should only be used where engineering control systems are not feasible.

There are two basic types of ways respirators provide PPE. First, they remove contaminants from the air. Second, they can protect by supplying clean air from another source.

The first type of respirators which use filtering, can range in many different types of particulate models. These range from 95% not resistant to oil to 99.97% strongly resistant to oil.

    NIOSH-Approved Particulate Filtering Facepiece Respirators (from cdc.gov):
  • N95 – Filters at least 95% of airborne particles. Not resistant to oil.
  • Surgical N95 – A NIOSH-approved N95 respirator that has also been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a surgical mask.
  • N99 – Filters at least 99% of airborne particles. Not resistant to oil.
  • N100 – Filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles. Not resistant to oil.
  • R95 – Filters at least 95% of airborne particles. Somewhat resistant to oil.
  • P95 – Filters at least 95% of airborne particles. Strongly resistant to oil.
  • P99 – Filters at least 99% of airborne particles. Strongly resistant to oil.
  • P100 – Filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles. Strongly resistant to oil.

How Respirators Protect



Pick Out the Right Respirator

OSHA has made a nice tool that will ask a series of questions to help you select the best respirator for your workplace. The advisor genius is based on the NIOSH Respirator Decision Logic and the OSHA Respirator Standard. Start the selection wizard now.

Fit Testing

You must do a respirator fit testing to make sure that the mask-to-face seal fits around the wearer without leaks. For negative pressure air purifying respirators, users may rely on either a qualitative or a quantitative fit test procedure for exposure levels less than 10 times the occupational exposure limit.

Training from OSHA

OSHA has provided a series of videos that will help you understand exactly when to wear, maintenance, and test respirators. See the videos here.

Missed last week’s blog post on Safe Us of Fall Protection? Click here.

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