Types Of Respirators
It is vital to know the type of respirator to use at any circumstance. It is therefore very important to do a proper research to know the type of respirator to use for the various situations and hazards that are likely to occur at your work place or environment you are exposed to. There are two categories of respirators which employ different techniques to eliminate or reduce toxic contaminants in the atmosphere. Thy are:
1. Air purifying respirator which forces the polluted air via a filtering element. These types of respirators include Air Purifying Half Mask Respirators, Gas Masks, Air Purifying Disposable Particulate Masks, Powered Purifying Mask Respirator and Air Purifying Full Face Mask Respirator and
2. Air- supplied respirator which delivers an alternate supply of fresh air. These types also include Emergency Escape Breathing Apparatus, Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus and Airline Respirators.
In situations where the eyes do not need any form of protection against the air or vapor, half-mask respirators can be used. Most gases that are found in hazardous environments can either cause an irritation or totally damage the eyes. Therefore, a full-face respirator will be needed in such area. A fireman for example will need a full-face respirator to protect his eyes from the heavy smoke while putting off the fire. Though they have a supply air, the protection of the eyes is also vital as smoke can damage the eyes. Also, the half-mask respirator is widely used when painting. This is because the paint doesn’t cause any harm to the eyes.
Where to use full-face Respirators
Full-face respirators are often used in the chemical industry and places where hazardous chemicals are present and can infiltrate or irritate the eyes or skin. Such chemicals are volatile compounds, moisture cure polyurethanes or conversion varnish. When natural disasters such as flood occur, the need for a clean-up exercise arises. When there is a potential that very toxic spores in debris, rotting wood, waste and any harmful chemicals has been released into the atmosphere as a result of the flood, the full-face mask becomes a great need as its use will prevent the wearer from getting into contact with the chemicals in the environment.
Mode of Operation
The respirator is specially designed to cover the wearer’s nose and mouth. It might cover your eyes as well. It also has an in-built valve that aids in easy exhalation while preventing you from inhaling or breathing in the contaminated air in the surrounding environment. Attached to the outside of the respirator are cartridges, pre-filters and filters to capture gases, vapors and particles in the atmosphere. These respirators are worn for duties such as painting, heavy-duty cleaning, welding, high-tech manufacturing and many more.
Maintenance of a Full Face Respirator
1. Remove the cartridges and filters
2. Using a mild soap, wash or rinse the respirator in warm water
3. Air-dry or dry it with a lint-free cloth and place it in a bag.
4. Store it in a cool dry place
Replace the cartridges and filters according to the guiding principles of your manufacturer or employer.
Respirators may be:
1. Loose-fitting, like helmets or hoods to cover the head entirely.
2. Tight-fitting i.e. half masks. Specially made to cover the nose and mouth and face pieces that cover the full face from hairline to the lower chin
There are two classes of respirators namely
1. Atmosphere-supplying respirator. This class of respirator provides clean and breathable air from a pure source and are used in more hazardous environments.
2. Air-purifying respirator. It also removes pollutants or impurities from the air.
Why Employees Need Respirators
Respirators are necessary in environments or work places where there are toxic substances and inadequate engineering control measures to eliminate or reduce them. Using an atmosphere-supplying respirator also aids in protection against atmospheres with low amount of oxygen. Increased rates of breathing, faster heartbeat, and coordination or impaired thinking often occurs at a higher rate in hazardous or oxygen-deficient atmosphere.