Powered air-purifying respirators function by forcing ambient air through air-purifying elements and filters, allowing people to breathe with less work.
Depending on your environment and the particulates you're protecting against, it may be good practice to use a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) when working in certain sectors. This includes healthcare, pharmaceutical manufacturing, painting, spray foam insulation, and more. Once you have assessed your workplace hazards and decided that a PAPR is the right respiratory protection, keep in mind these key differences inherent to the system compared to disposable respiratory protection:
|Disposable Filtering Facepiece||PAPR|
|Require Cleaning||N/A- |
These are disposable
|Works with Facial Hair||Some facial hair OK|
|Fit Testing Required||YES- Tight fitting PAPR|
NO- Loose fitting PAPR
|Pre-Medical Exam Required|
|Provide Additional PPE Benefits||Eye Protection|
|Vapor and Gas Protection||May require additional components|
|Dust, Mist and Fume Filtration||May require certain filters|
|Filtering Capabilities||Various N95:|
Understanding the Costs of Disposable Respiratory Protection (N95s) vs. PAPR
N95 costs go beyond just buying the product. For companies to be OSHA compliant, employees required to wear N95s need to undergo annual fit testing (for every model/change) and may also require annual pulmonary function testing. Keep in mind that if your employees are replacing their masks more than once a day, the cost of the one-time use product/person multiplies, which means that the initial investment in a PAPR unit may not prove to be as costly over time. To evaluate the costs, consider using a calculator PAPR vs. N95 cost calculator to help in your PPE assessment.
Bullard EVA PAPR Features:
How to properly don (put on) and doff (take off) a PAPR unit:
1. Inspect the unit prior to using it and confirm it has sufficient battery power.
2. Make sure all parts are compatible for the pump and from the same manufacturer.
3. Ensure the filter is appropriate for the contaminate you are protecting against.
4. If the filter is not new and someone used it before, wear gloves before replacing the filter/cartridge.
5. Confirm proper air flow ( at least 6 CFM).
6. Check that hoses are secured properly and not leaking.
7. Remember to power the PAPR unit on before entering the environment.
1. Depending on exposure, the PAPR wearer may need to clean the unit before removing it from the secured working environment
2. Use the proper disinfectant on the unit's exterior surface to inactivate the contaminant
3. Remove the PAPR unit
4. Disinfect/decontaminate the unit away from the hazardous area but within a designated cleaning area
5. Disconnect the components and clean each component part except for filters/cartridges. Do not submerge the battery, blower, or hood/helmet in liquid unless you have the appropriate plugs to keep the unit safe from water damage.
Have a Safe Day!