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Article Teaser: Disposable particulate respirators come in a variety styles and are meant to protect workers from nonhazardous contaminants in the workplace. These types of respirators are one category of air-purifying respirator.

Keep reading below...

Disposable Particulate Respirators

Copyright (c) 2009-2017

Disposable particulate respirators come in a variety styles and are meant to protect workers from nonhazardous contaminants in the workplace. These types of respirators are one category of air-purifying respirator.

The filtering material in the disposable respirator can be made of cloth or paper. This filtering material cleans the air as the wearer breathes. Some disposable particulate respirators (dust masks) are used to control nuisance contaminants such as dust, nonhazardous fibers, animal dander, and pollen. Other disposable respirators can have added features for use with aerosols, mists, fumes, and dusts. Disposable particulate respirators are not mean for use where hazardous chemicals are present and the chemical needs to be filtered from the air (air-purifying respirators that utilize chemical-specific filter cartridges would be used in an instance such as this).

While disposable respirators are convenient, there are limitations, and workers need to be made aware of these limitations and the guidelines for wearing disposable respirators in order to wear them safely.

Disposable respirator used in the workplace should be certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Disposable respirators should be matched to their intended use. The following table summarizes the various types of disposable particulate respirators:

Type: Description

N95: The N95 disposable respirator filters at least 95% of airborne particles. It is not resistant to oil.

N99: N99 respirators filter out at least 99% of airborne particles. It is not resistant to oil.

N100: This disposable respirator filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles. It is not resistant to oil.

R95: The NR95 disposable respirator filters at least 95% of airborne particles. It is somewhat resistant to oil.

R99: R99 respirators filter out at least 99% of airborne particles. It is somewhat resistant to oil.

R100: This disposable respirator filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles. It is somewhat resistant to oil.

P95: The P95 disposable respirator filters at least 95% of airborne particles. It is strongly resistant to oil.

P99: P99 respirators filter out at least 99% of airborne particles. It is strongly resistant to oil.

P100: This disposable respirator filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles. It is strongly resistant to oil.

(Note: There are currently no NIOSH-approved R99, R100, or P99 disposable particulate respirators.)

"Dust masks," like those often found at hardware stores, that do not carry one of the ratings listed in the table above are far less effective and should not be used where respirators are needed for worker protection in fulfillment of regulatory requirements.

Fit Testing

Disposable particulate respirators are not excluded from OSHA requirements for fit testing.

Medical Evaluation

If respirator use is required in the workplace and disposable respirators are part of that requirement, you must have your workers medically evaluated in order to ensure that they can wear the respirator safely.

When To Replace

Disposable particulate respirators become more efficient as particles are trapped in the filter media. However, like all filters, they have a limit. Respirators should be replaced when breathing while using the respirator becomes difficult.

When Respirator Use Is Not Required

Sometimes, workers may want to wear respirators in the workplace even though they are not required. Most often, the type of respirator worn in a voluntary situation is a disposable particulate respirator. Regardless of whether the voluntarily worn respirator is a disposable respirator or some other type of air-purifying respirator, employers still have some obligations under OSHA regulations - albeit fewer than when respiratory protection is mandatory.

In order for workers to wear respirators on a voluntary basis, you must determine that wearing a respirator will not in itself create a hazard. If you determine that voluntary respirator use is permissible, you must provide the respirator users with the information contained in Appendix D of 29 CFR 1910.134. Also, according to OSHA, you must, "implement those elements of the written respiratory protection program necessary to ensure that any employee using a respirator voluntarily is medically able to use that respirator, and that the respirator is cleaned, stored, and maintained so its use does not present a health hazard to the user." However, OSHA further states that you are not required "to include in a written respiratory program those employees whose only use of respirators involves the voluntary use of filtering facepieces (dust masks)."




About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Rathi Niyogi is the CEO of CriticalTool, a national distributor of respirators, air-purifying respirators and other safety equipment. If you thought this article was helpful, additional information on choosing the correct type of respirator can be found at http://www.criticaltool.com/respirator-types.html

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