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Helping Workers through Respiratory Protection

Julie Copeland

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We've seen the impact of respiratory illness and how it can be devastating to workers, their families and employers who did not properly protect their workers. 

It’s estimated that about 5 million workers are required to wear respirators in 1.5 millionProtect workers from respiratory illness. locations nationwide.  Respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors, and sprays. These hazards may cause cancer, lung impairment, diseases, or death. Compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) Respiratory Protection Standard could avert hundreds of deaths and thousands of illnesses annually.

A respirator is a protective device that covers the nose, mouth, or face to guard the worker against hazardous atmospheres. Respirators protect the user in two different ways. Either it filters out contaminants from the air or supplies clean air from another source. OSHA mandates that employers must provide free respiratory training to these workers. Respirators cannot provide protection if not used properly.

A client revealed recently before we started helping them with proper training and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), they were not in compliance and a few of their workers developed serious illnesses over time possibly from not using proper respiratory equipment. Having been properly trained and using the correct equipment, they realize now the importance of protecting their workers and the potential dangers associated with respiratory hazards.

Employees must be trained before they can use a respirator, or assigned working with different respiratory hazards. Certification must be renewed each year. OSHA’s respiratory protection standards have requirements training must cover.  Requirements include teaching employees:

  • Why a respirator is necessary in the workplace

  • How to place and remove from face

  • Proper use of the device

  • What to do in emergency situations when respirator does not work

  • How to check seal

Employers must also create a respiratory protection program that meets OSHA requirements. Training must be worksite specific and comprehendible to the employees. Information must be provided on the following topics:

  • Fit testing and the dangers of improper fit

  • Procedure and schedule for cleaning and incepting devices

  • Medical evaluation of employees

  • Air quality standards

  • Recognize medical symptoms that could prevent use of respirator

At Arbill, we can help provide these services to your employees. Arbill offers multiple respiratory training programs. We can provide yearly training that satisfies OSHA’s respiratory standards and medical evaluations for employees. Along with proper qualitative and quantitative fit testing.  Let us help keep your employees safe with proper training. For more information about making your workplace safer, contact the safety specialists at 800.523.5367 or visit our website.

Have a safe day!

Topics: Arbill, respiratory protection, OSHA, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Respiratory risk

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