Learn why protecting workers from respiratory diseases is critically important in virtually every industry!
OSHA Respiratory Protection for Industry Safety
What do respiratory hazards look like, as indicated by OSHA:
- Dust, such as those found when adding dry ingredients to a mixture
- Metal fumes from welding, cutting, and melting of metals
- Solvent vapors from spray coatings, adhesives, paints, strippers, and cleaning solvents
- Infectious agents, such as tuberculosis bacteria in healthcare settings
- Chemical hazards, such as chlorine gas and anhydrous ammonia in chemical processing and use operations
- Sensitizing vapors or dust, such as isocyanates, certain epoxies, and beryllium
- Oxygen deficiency, which is sometimes found in confined spaces
- Pharmaceuticals during the production of prescription drugs
You can reduce exposure to respiratory hazards with these methods:
- Engineering controls – such as local exhaust ventilation
- Work practice controls – such as applying coatings using a brush rather than a spray
- Administrative controls – such as minimizing the exposure time or the number of workers exposed to the hazard
Why is proper respiratory training critical – aren’t all respiratory devices the same?
Present training in a way that is easy to understand and it should include the following:
- Why you need to use the respirator
- What the respirator can and cannot do to protect you
- How to properly inspect, put on and take off, and use your respirator
- How to check the seal of your respirator (also called a “user seal check”)
- How to use the respirator effectively in emergency situations, including situations in which the respirator doesn’t work properly
- How to recognize medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent you from using a respirator
- How improper fit, usage, or maintenance can reduce your respirator’s ability to protect you
- What the procedures are for maintenance and storage of the respirator
- What the requirements are for federal OSHA’s or your State OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standards.
Respiratory protection can protect the user in two basic ways:
- Removal of containment in the air. Respirators of this type include particulate respirators, which filter out airborne particles, and air-purifying respirators with cartridges/canisters which filter out chemicals and gases.
- Respirators protect by supplying clean respirable air from another source. Respirators that fall into this category include airline respirators, which use compressed air from a remote source, and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which include their own air supply.