Respiration Protection

Safety Tips: Respiratory Protection

  • Sometimes the air where you work contains hazardous contaminants or doesn’t have enough oxygen. The OSHA term for these conditions is IDLH: “immediately dangerous to life and health.”
  • If these problems can’t be solved with mechanical ventilation, you must wear a respirator
  • The three main types are supplied-air respirators, which provide pressurized breathing air; self-contained units that have air in a tank that you carry on your bank; and air-purifying respirators, the use filters to clean the air you breathe.
  • Respirators must always be fit-tested to make sure they seal correctly to your face, and that there are no leaks.
  • Each time you use your respirator, check to make sure that all connections are tight; that it is in good condition and hasn’t been damaged; that it seals correctly on your face; and that the filters haven’t exceeded their useful life.
  • Learn how to perform both a negative-pressure check and a positive-pressure check on your respirator.
  • Escape respirators are only for emergencies; don’t use them during normal work.
  • Respirator maintenance is a critical part of any respiratory protection program. Users must know how to:
    • remove and replace filters, cartridges and canisters
    • disassemble and reassemble the respirator
    • recognize, discard and replace broken parts
    • clean and disinfect dirty respirators
    • store a respirator to keep it clean and protect it from damage and contamination.

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