Millions of workers are required to wear respirators in a large number of workplaces throughout the United States. Respirators are used to protect workers that are associated with everyday jobs that may involve gases, vapors, insufficient oxygen environments and harmful dust. These types of hazards can cause serious harm to a workers health. Failure to follow the correct guidelines when working with harmful hazards that were listed above may cause serious harm which includes cancer, lung impairment, diseases or could result in death.
OSHA has specific guidelines you must follow when working with hazardous material. They require that the employer provides the employee with a certain type of respirator depending on the type of work the employee may be doing. There are many types of respirators but the two main types are ...view middle of the document...
Loose-fitting respirators do not depend on a tight seal with the face to provide protection. Fit test are required for the tight-fitted respirators to ensure it is sealed to the workers face properly.
An employer must measure the level of airborne contaminant present in your workplace; they use this information to determine the type of respirator which is called the Assigned Protection Factor also known as APF. There are certain numbers assigned to each class of respirator to determine the level of protection needed for your employee. A large number will mean a greater level of protection. For example, when used properly a respirator with an APF of 15 will reduce your exposure to 1/15th the concentration of the contaminant in the air. A respirator with an APF of 60 will reduce your exposure to 1/60th the concentration of the contaminant in the air. Maximum permissible exposure levels are generally based on specific concentrations over an 8 hour period without using a respirator.
The employer must form and implement those elements of a written respiratory protection program necessary to ensure that any employee using a respirator voluntarily is medically able to use that respirator. To be medically cleared to use a certain type of respirator would be to test the employee’s lung capacity so that they can breathe properly through the respirator. The employer and employee should always make sure the respirator is cleaned, stored, and maintained so that its use does not present a health hazard to the user. Protection of the employee should always come first so that is why proper training is always required when it comes to dealing with hazardous materials.
In conclusion employee safety is becoming the number one factor in today’s society. Without the proper protection of employees no job can be done safely so it’s always important that the employer supplies its workers with the correct safety equipment necessary for a task and provide them with proper training when required to use PPE.