Construction employers must know how respirator is helpful to them. They should be aware about using the respirator in proper way and about handling filtering face pieces (dust masks).
At any construction site there is always risk employees health as the environment is full of harmful air particles such as dust, chemicals, vapors, mist, gases etc.
What Is a Respirator?
Respirator is a device that protects wear from inhaling harmful air particles by removing contaminants from the air. It is worn over face and generally there are two designs of respirators.
The one is half face respirator and the other one is full face respirator. Further there are different types of respirators available in the market. Air purifying respirators (APR) are those that filter out airborne particles, and “gas masks,” which filter out chemicals and gasses.
The other types of respirators are those that protect wearer by supplying clean air from another source.
At any construction site respirators protect wearer from inhaling dangerous particles or chemicals, such as asbestos fibers, silica dust or chlorine gas etc.
Regular exposure to these air contaminants can cause several respirator issues to the workers and that is why it is very important for workers to wearer respirator while working.
How Do Respirators help in construction site?
Construction site is full of gases, dusts, mists and fumes depending upon the nature of work. These harmful air contaminants can make you sick or can even kill you if you breathe them directly from the air.
Asbestos dust present in environment is very harmful and can cause lung cancer if you breathe it.
Respirators work either by filtering these harmful particles from the air or by supplying clean air from an outside source.
There are different types of respirators available in market that provides protection against containments for what they are designed for.
Basically there are four categories of respirators available in the market.
1. Particulate respirators
2. Chemical cartridge/gas mask respirators
3. Powered air purifying respirators (PAPR)
4. Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)
Particulate respirators are the simplest, least expensive, and least protective of the respirator types available.
They only protect wearer from harmful dust particles but do not protect workers against chemicals, gases, or vapors, and are intended only for low hazard levels. The most common particulate respirators are known as N-95 mask.
The other types of particulate respirators that are better than N-95 mask are half- and full-face piece cartridge respirators. These respirators are work best when used with filters that provide better protection than
Chemical Cartridge/Gas Masks Respirators
Chemical cartridge/gas masks respirators are half- and full-face piece air-purifying respirators. These respirators are equipped with the correct replaceable cartridge or canister filter.
They are used to filter out the chemical gases and possibly particles out of the air. These respirators are used with filters/cartridges that are specifically designed to remove the specific hazardous vapor or gas.
While choosing these respirators it is mandatory to choose the right filters/cartridges that are designed specifically for the certain type of chemical, vapors or gas.
Gas and chemical filters/cartridges are color coded to help ensure use of the right filter cartridge.
Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR)
These respirators are battery operated and use a fan to blow air through the filter to the user. It is very easy to breathe through respirators. Same filters which are used in gas masks are used in these respirators.
Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)
These respirators are used generally by firefighters. They require their own air tank to supply clean air so you don’t need to worry about the filters. Workers can use these respirators in the environment where higher concentrations of dangerous chemicals are available. Among other respirators these are the only respirators that can be used in workplace that is oxygen deficient.
Kinds of hazards present in construction work sites
There are certain types of hazards present in construction work sites. Below we have listed of these hazards:-
1. Lead dust and fumes from grinding, welding, cutting, or brazing surfaces coated with lead-based paint.
2. Sandblasting and concrete cutting can produce silica dust. Silica dust can cause lung cancer if inhaled for long period of time.
3. Certain kinds of vapors from adhesives, paints, strippers, cleaning solvents, and spray coatings are also present.
Important tips to follow while working using respirators
1. Wear the respirator that properly fit your face.
2. Use the correct type of filters/cartridges.
3. Always perform a fit test before you enter to the working zone.
4. Employees must be trained about proper use of respirator.
5. Leave the working environment immediately when you find the leakage.
6. Replace the filters or change the respirator upon expiry date or when it gets damage.
7. Wash the facepiece after use and do not share your respirator with anyone.
8. Always read the manual guide before you start using the respirator.
To get protection from dust hazards workers can use particulate respirator. To get protection from gases and chemicals please use right set of filters/cartridges with a respirator.