10 Common Mistakes Made by People Who Wear Respirators

Everyone loves a list!  So, we thought make a list of 10 common mistakes people make when using respiratory protection.

1Choosing the wrong respirator

If you’ve got the wrong respirator for the job, then you’re not going to be properly protected and will be throwing money away. Before you grab the first respirator you see make sure you understand what respiratory hazards you are dealing with and what the levels of concentrations are likely to be. It’s always best to ask advice from an expert before purchasing.

2Not getting fit tested

All users of respiratory protection should get fit tested when using a respiratory mask that relies on a close face fit / seal. Wearing the wrong size respirator or the correct size but not fitted correctly will mean you don’t get the level of protection you need. We recommend you use a qualified fit tester.

At pH7, we offer respiratory fit testing services conducted by our team of qualified fit testers.

3Using the wrong filters

Different respiratory hazards require different filters. Some chemicals will require a combination of filters. Our filter selection guide can help you figure out the correct filter for the job.

4Not changing the filters

Respiratory filters, like all other filters, need to be changed periodically as they will eventually become saturated or full and not work properly. Gas filters typically use activated carbon to remove specific gases and should be changed at least every 6 months once open, regardless of use. If you find breathing resistance has increased or your can smell or taste a chemical, it’s probably time to change the filters.

5Not checking the respirator before use

Like all safety equipment, respirators should be checked before use. A visual check of the gaskets, valves, straps and face seal is required. Look out for discolouration, cracking or tears.

6Not maintaining the respirator

After use you should take the time to clean your respirator and put it away properly. Filters and valves should be changed regularly.

7Wearing a respirator with a beard

Beards are back in fashion, well for men anyway! Unfortunately, beards and close fitting respiratory don’t generally go together well as it is difficult to get a good face seal. If you’re determined to keep your beard, then you’ll need to splash out on a positive pressure respirator with a loose fitting hood.

8Not learning how to use it properly

The Health and Safety at Work Act and Regulations, along with the Respiratory Protection Standards make it VERY clear that all users need to be properly trained by a competent person to use and maintain their respiratory protective equipment.

9Not documenting their respiratory program

For businesses requiring their workers to wear respiratory protective equipment, it is a requirement that you have a respiratory protection program in place. This include documentation, who has been issued a respirator, what filters they were provided, when they were fit testing and when the filters will need to be changed and more.

10Not storing the respiratory correctly

Last but not least, how often have you seen someone throw their respirator in the tool bag or back of the van? To prevent damage and cross contamination it is essential that you properly clean and store your respirator after use.

For more tips on respiratory protection, speak to the team at pH7 – we’d love to show you the latest technological advances in this field.  For more information about your requirements and/or to discuss how we can help, contact us on 0800 323 223, or via the website.

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