disposable respirator

Frequently Asked Questions About Disposable Respirator

How to Evaluate Disposable Respirator

A proper evaluation of a Disposable Respirator is to find the perfect fit and efficient protection. These are some of the key principles. Especially for keeping your employees protected from the harmful effects of fumes and particulates around the workplace. Many people do not know this. As a result, the facts get all mixed up. Dust mask users tend to become confused about what to do and what not to do.

Over the years, questions about the best face mask and respirators have been raised. To clarify all the confusion, here are some commonly asked about dust or respirator masks:

What Are Respirators?

A respirator is a protective face piece that can help shield users from hazardous particulates. The N95 mask is a kind of respirator that can provide protection against 95% of airborne particulates as small as 0.3 microns. However, these cannot protect against gases and smoke. However, they can provide protection against the particles carried by smoke produced by a wildfire.

How Do You Know Which Masks Are Approved or Unapproved?

Since they come in various types some may be mistaken as approved when in fact they aren’t. There is, however, a way of knowing for sure. A NIOSH-approved N95 face mask usually has a “NIOSH Approved” stamp on the label or packaging. The N95, N99, and N100 are examples of approved respirators.

Do I Need a Fit Test?

Employers are required to do a fit test for the approved masks that their employees are going to be using. This is to make sure that a particular respirator will provide a perfect fit and seal to your face. It’s also important to remember that when you’re fit testing. It’s necessary to do it when you don’t have a full facial beard since it can have an effect on the seal between the mask and your face.

Fit testing should also be repeated after two years, according to OSHA’s standards, or when a user goes through a significant change to his or her facial shape that may be due to weight loss/gain or broken bones.

What Do I Need to Do Before Fit Testing?

Before fit testing, the user is advised to do the following:

  • Not to consume or chew anything (including gum) 20 minutes before fit testing except for water.
  • Shave their beard or any significant facial hair that would affect a proper seal between the mask and their facial skin..

When Should Dust And Respirators Be Changed?

The obvious indication that your respirator is worn out is when it’s damaged and it suddenly does not provide an effective seal on the face. Another indication is when it becomes visibly dirty or when it becomes wet or contaminated with bodily secretions and fluid (i.e. Blood, nasal secretions, or etc.). It’s also important to make sure that you can still properly breathe through the mask. If not, then you might need to dispose of it. A shorter and easier way to remember when your respirator needs replacing is through the 3 D’s: Dirty, Damaged, and Difficult to breathe through.

Ensuring a safe workplace for you and your employees is one way of increasing your productivity. This is why dust masks are an important piece of protective equipment to have especially if you’re constantly exposed to a variety of dust and other airborne particles. Having a NIOSH Pocket Guide ready at hand can also be helpful so you can be informed of the extent to which your mask can provide protection.