Proper respirator selection will ensure your protection
How is an air purifying respirator selected for a task?
Properly understanding the hazards associated with a task are vital to ensuring the correct respirator type is chosen for a job.
There are two basic types of respirators; those that purify the air we breathe by removing an air contaminant and those that provide an independent source of breathing air.
The following criteria must be met in order to select an air purifying respirator:
- There must be an approved cartridge (or filter) type for the contaminant
- The expected concentration cannot exceed the maximum use concentration based on the protection factor and the expected level
- For organic vapors, the concentration cannot exceed 1,000 ppm (regardless of the protection factor and the expected level)
- There must be sufficient oxygen in the air (at least 19.5%)
- There cannot be an IDLH atmosphere
If any of these conditions cannot be met, then a respirator that provides an independent source of breathing, either supplied air (bottle with an airline) or SCBA, must be used.
When using an air purifying respirator keep in mind that the respirator cartridge should be discarded and replaced with a fresh one whenever there is any indication that the cartridge is overloaded.
And, as with all PPE, inspect it before each use and replace it as needed.