Everything You Need to Know About Respirators

Respirator offers protection against hazardous airborne particles like gases, organ vaporisers, fumes and dust. So, choosing the proper respirator for your everyday needs is crucial. You need to understand the exposure assessment first to select appropriate protective equipment.

It can be a filtering or a half-face or a full face respirator and each of them serves a different purpose. To learn more about different types of respirators and what kind of respirator will suit your needs, read the following section.

Air Purifying Respirator

An air-purifying respirator uses cartridges or filters to remove hazardous or harmful contaminants. These are reusable and filter air particles like gases, vapours, mists, metal fumes and dust.

You also get other respirators, also called face masks, that only filter air particulates, fumes and dust. These masks do not have the efficiency to filter gases and vapour. To get protection against gases and vapour, you would need half or full face respirators. 

Half-face masks do not cover the entire face and only provide respiratory protection. Therefore, you need to wear safety glasses to protect the eyes.

Full facepieces cover the face and eyes from exposure to harmful chemicals.

Supplied-Air Respirators

Supplied-Air Respirators are best in working conditions with low oxygen levels. These respirators supply clean air through an airline or a compressed air tank. 

Hence, you don’t have to worry about the air quality in your work environment when using supplied-air respirators. 

Types of Air Purifying Respirators

Disposable masks

Disposable masks protect workers’ lungs from nuisance particles, fibrosis-producing mists and dust, and pneumoconiosis. 

Particulate respirators, called N95 masks, can filter out 95 per cent of impurities. These respirators are disposable, lightweight, comfortable, and very affordable.

You should wear N95 masks in areas with low dust, mist, and pollen concentrations. 

Particulate respirators

Particulate respirators are a lot more efficient than disposable masks. These respirators are classified according to hazards and provide three levels of filtration efficiency. They are also classified according to the P, R and N series. 

Hospital workers commonly use particulate respirators, farmers, painters and carpenters.

You get respirators that filter about 95 per cent of impurities by the name of P95, R95 and N95 masks and those filtering 99 per cent air particulates as P99, R99 and N99 masks. Those respirators that provide almost 100 per cent protection are classified as P100, R100 and N100. 

Air Purifying Half mask respirators

Half-mask respirators protect against mould, dust, vapours, fumes, gases and other air particulates. These are fitted with cartridges and provide a tight seal around the wearer’s face. You can reuse these respirators by changing the filters from time to time.

The longevity of these filters is about 40 hours, and you should use them at this time limit. Also, you can change and use different cartridges in these respirators available for various contaminants.

These respirators are relatively lightweight, easy to use and offer a good degree of protection.

Air Purifying Full Face respirators.

Full face respirators cover the face, protecting the mouth, chin, nose and eyes. These are also used with cartridges or filters and are the same as half-face respirators.

These respirators are heavy and provide better seal and protection than half-mask respirators. Hence, your face and eyes remain protected from irritating mists, vapours and chemical splashes. 

Inhaling these hazardous particles can cause respiratory diseases like lung infection, mouth infection, throat infection and cancer. So, make sure you choose a suitable respirator that provides complete protection. Also, note that your mask, filter and cartridges have a limited life. When they become outdated, you need to replace them immediately. Therefore, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and inspect it from time to time. 

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