Respirators - what you should know
When working with vapor, particles and dangerous substances, it is important that you wear a safety mask – also called a respirator.
There are three types of respirators.
Filtering respirators – OX-ON, 3M, Dräger, Honeywell
Also called short-term mask and is the most widely used. This type must be used for no more than three hours per day. There are three types of protection within this group:
- Filtering face masks covering the nose and mouth.
- Filtering half masks with fixed or interchangeable filters covering the nose and mouth.
- Filtering whole masks with interchangeable filters covering the nose, mouth and eyes.
Respirator with motor – 3M, Dräger, Honeywell
Also called turbo devices because of the battery-powered engine that blows air into the respirator through one or more filters (the equipment does not generate oxygen but purifies the air). The turbo equipment is combined with a full or half mask, hood or a head part with a tight-fitting visor. This type of may be used for more than three hours per day.
Air-supplying respirator – 3M sold by OX-ON
The equipment is used when there is a lack of oxygen in the workplace and there are no filters that can remove the pollution. Must also be used when there are higher concentrations of pollution than the filters are intended for. The compressed air respirator is combined with a full or half mask, hood or a head part with a tight-fitting visor. This type of may be used for more than three hours per day.
There are some types of tasks that are subject to special government requirements (such as working with manure tanks). These tasks require the use of air-supplied respirators.
Respiratory protection - Half and full masks
The advantage of half and full masks is that, when using the same mask, you can often switch between different filter types, as they can be used with both particle filters and gas/vapor filters. – or with a combination of these. Note that the mask and filters must be from the same manufacturer to fit together.
Whole masks, as the name also says, cover the entire face – that is, the chin, mouth, nose and eyes.
Half masks cover the chin, mouth and nose, but not the eyes. This type of mask is provided with an inhalation valve, an exhalation valve and interchangeable filters. However, they can also have a fixed filter.
Respirator - Good advice on maintenance
Half and full masks must be maintained to a greater or lesser extent. Follow these four pieces of advice.
The basic mask is cleaned after use.
The diaphragms in the exhalation valves are checked. Are they clean?
The diaphragms in the exhalation valves are checked. If broken, they are replaced.
To extend the life of your gas/vapor filter, it should be stored in an airtight container.
Storage box for your respirator – order it here
How to decode your OX-ON mask
Exhalation valve (reduces heat accumulation)
Filter class (XXXX)
R (reusable - for multi-use masks) or NR (non-reusable – for single-use masks)
D label (also called the Dolomite test. That is, the material has a large dust capacity, so that the resistance only increases slowly as the dust is accumulated).
EN Standard - Read about EN Standards for respirators here