OSHA requires that employers use PPE, or “personal protective equipment,” to decrease their worker’s exposure to dangers when administrative and engineering manipulations are not viable or effectual with reducing hazardous exposures to acceptable levels. Companies are required to establish whether PPE is necessary to protect their employees.
Atmosphere providing respirators are utilized to supply breathing air from a source different from the surrounding environment. Respirators that provide breathing-air must be of the utmost quality and the equipment must operate reliably. Employers must supply their worker’s with respirators when all other favored methods of shielding workers from breathing impure air has been deemed to be inadequate to decrease the contamination to non-hazardous levels.
Respiratory Protection/Respirator’s Use
Respirators are apparatuses that safeguard employees from inhaling dangerous substances, such as biological, chemical, and radiological agents. These substances may appear in the form of sprays, smoke, mists, fumes, fogs, dust, gases, and airborne vapors. These exposures could cause diseases, lung impairment, cancer, or death. Respirators also guarantee that workers do not inhale air that consists of hazardously low-levels of oxygen or air that is immediately dangerous to life or health, IDLH. In conditions where workers are exposed to hazardous airborne dangers, respirators must “seal off” and segregate the user’s respiratory-system from the tainted environment.
Respirators shield wearers in two fundamental ways:
-An APR, or air-purifying respirator is a respirator that eradicates impurities from the air. This type of respirator includes particulate-respirators that filter out airborne elements, and air purifying respirators with canisters or cartridges that filter out gases and chemicals.
– Other types of respirators protect by providing clean breathable air from another resource. Respirators in this category include airline-respirators, which utilize compressed air from a distant source, and SCBA, self-contained breathing apparatus that include their own air-supply. SAR, or supplied air-respirators, are also used as airline respirators.
When is a Workplace Environment Hazardous?
An atmosphere is harmful if it does not consists of enough oxygen, or if it has radiological, biological, or chemical contaminants in sufficient amounts to put the health of workers in danger.