Respiratory protection for every application

Respiratory protection

Respiratory protection in accordance with Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) must be provided by every employer whose employees may be exposed to harmful (toxic, corrosive, irritant) gases, vapours, mists or dusts.

Risk analysis:

The OHSA obliges all companies to perform a risk assessment for every workstation. The risk analysis is intended to create the basis for selecting the correct type of respiratory protection. Employers are obliged to check the following points as a part of the risk analysis: the type and extent of the risk, the duration of the risk and the probability of risk occurrence for employees.

The risk analysis carried out by the employer must determine the pollutants and their concentrations. Concentrations are determined via the occupational exposure limits (OEL).

Definition of OEL value:

The occupational exposure limit (OEL) is the time-weighted average concentration of a substance in the air at the workplace at which acute or chronic injury to the health of employees is not to be expected. In general, an eight-hour exposure time on five days per week over the person's working life is assumed for the calculation. The occupational exposure limit is specified in mg/m³ and ml/m³ (ppm).

Selecting respiratory protection:

The appropriate respiratory protection can be selected after the risk analysis when the limit values are known.

Requirements for use:

The ambient air must contain at least 17% oxygen by volume. Filter equipment must not be used if the pollutants or their concentrations are not known.

Useful life:

the lifetime of respiratory protection filters is dependent on the concentration of the contamination and on the nature of the activities carried out. During more physical exertion the air volume throughput is larger and therefore a shorter service life is to be expected. If the smell or taste of the respective substances can be detected, this indicates the end of a gas filter's useful life. As the user has to rely on this sense of perception, standard filter devices must not be used for gases that have no smell or taste (e.g. carbon monoxide). If breathing resistance increases significantly when using particulate filters, this indicates that the filter material is saturated and should therefore be replaced with a new filter. Half-masks for filtering airborne particulate matter to protect against radioactive substances or biological agents are for single use only.

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