Do you know the points before you choose a respirator?
Employers should have a written respirator program that describes the proper procedures for
selecting and operating respiratory protective equipment. The correct use of a respirator is
just as important as selecting the proper respirator. Parts of the respirator program deal
with finding out what hazards are present and how much protection that the workers will
need. Other parts should describe how to wear and look after the respirator.
Without a complete respiratory protection program, people will probably not receive the best
protection from a respirator even if it is the correct choice for a specific job. A
respiratory protection program includes several components such as:
*hazard identification and control
*inspection and record keeping
*cleaning and sanitizing respirators
*repairing and maintaining respirators
*proper storage of respirators
*standard operating procedures (available in written form)
A physician should examine the medical and psychological fitness of workers. This should be
done before they are assigned to work in areas where respirators may be required. The
workers must be physically fit to carry out the work while wearing respiratory equipment.
They must also be psychologically comfortable (e.g., not claustrophobic) about wearing
Workers with beards, long sideburns, or even a two-day stubble may not wear respirators
because the hair breaks the seal between the skin and the respirator mask. Wearing
eyeglasses would also break the respirator seal. This break means that the respirator mask
will "leak" and will not provide the needed respiratory protection. Also, if a worker has
facial scars or an acne problem, the facial skin may not be able to form a good seal with a
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