Protect Your Employees from Workplace Hazards with Respirator Training
Respirators are one of the most effective methods of protection against a number of hazards in the workplace. However, in order to provide the highest level of protection and comfort, these devices must be properly selected, worn, and maintained.
Respirator training is the first step towards ensuring employees and employers are aware of the risks to health and life if a respirator is not worn and how and when a respirator should be used.
Why Are Respirators Important and How Do They Work?
There are two main types of respirators: atmosphere-supplying respirators, which provide the wearer with clean air from an uncontaminated source and air-purifying respirators which use cartridges, filters, or canisters to provide clean air by removing contaminants as you breathe.
Respirators can also be classified as loose-fitting or tight-fitting. If you are required to wear a tight-fitting respirator, you must be fit tested to ensure the mask fits tightly to your face. Any breaks or gaps in the seal could allow contaminated air to be breathed in.
What Can Respirators Protect Against?
Respirators are essential protection for employees who work in environments where oxygen levels may be insufficient or where harmful fogs, smokes, gases, dust, fumes, vapors, or sprays may be present. Without protection, there is a very real threat of serious health hazards developing such as:
- lung impairment,
- terminal diseases,
- or death
Respirators must be worn whenever and wherever regular workplace practice control and engineering measures do not provide adequate protection against contamination on the worksite. For example, if the confinement of contaminant-producing operations still results in an insufficient amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, employees must wear respirators. Even in areas where sufficient confinement measures are in place, employees should still be given the option to wear a respirator as an extra precaution.
The Respirator Fit Test
As mentioned above, the respirator fit test is used to ensure the correct fitting of a respirator mask. Fit testing is required in a number of different fields of work. One of the most common fields is the medical sector where employees must be protected against airborne viruses and diseases. There are two types of fit tests. Each should be undertaken every 2 years according to OSHA regulations.
- Qualitative: This type of fit test is the most common and covers most types of respirator masks. This test involves the taste sensitivity of the individual undergoing testing and can be used for any type of mask that does not have a dedicated air supply.
- Quantitative: This type of testing uses a piece of equipment called a Portacount machine to test the safety of the respirator mask via the fixed air supply.
Who Needs Respirator Training?
Respirator training is essential for any employee that is provided with a respirator by their employer. Employers should also undergo training so they understand how, when, and why a respirator should be used. They also need to know which type of respirator to provide to employees and how they can continue to keep employees safe by reviewing safety procedures and policies.
If your company is in need of respirator training, you can trust that RWLS Safety will help you and your employees become proficient in respirator usage. Call 570-404-8420 to get started today!
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