Respiratory Protection


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58 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

+1 To all of this. In my day job, I am often working in areas where a respirator is required by OSHA. The irritant smoke qualitative fit test is used, and is pretty effective. I guarantee you won't pass it with a beard. Do not think that a poorly fit respirator is helping you. Most likely, it is worse, because you THINK it is helping, and perhaps spend more time exposed than you would otherwise. 

I've seen a bunch of folks drop big $$$ on a Sawstop, because it is 'Safer'. How many of us put that same effort into simple eye, ear, and lung protection?

I know I haven't. And I can tell it.

Thanks bud!  

I know I've gotten better about using PPE in the shop as I've gotten older.

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@..Kev, nice article.  Is this your own work or is it an excerpt from another source?

It might be worth mentioning that PAPR's come in all in one helmuts models as well as helmet and belt models, as only the later is pictured.

Another point which is important to keep in mind when looking at the variety of respirator choices is how it will work with the ensemble of PPE that you need.  For example, I can't fit ear muffs over my PAPR, necessitating ear plugs.  And many half masks will dislodge my eyeglasses putting the world out of focus.

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1 hour ago, Mark J said:

@..Kev, nice article.  Is this your own work or is it an excerpt from another source?

It might be worth mentioning that PAPR's come in all in one helmuts models as well as helmet and belt models, as only the later is pictured.

Another point which is important to keep in mind when looking at the variety of respirator choices is how it will work with the ensemble of PPE that you need.  For example, I can't fit ear muffs over my PAPR, necessitating ear plugs.  And many half masks will dislodge my eyeglasses putting the world out of focus.

Obviously, there are certain bits that I borrowed from OSHA or some form of a dictionary but, the work is mine.

You are certainly correct about the PAPRs but, I didn't go a great deal into depth on them because they are pretty cost prohibitive.  They also make one that fits under a welding hood that's commonly referred to as a "yoke" in the industry but, it's not really relevant for the woodworker.

Proper fitting PPE is always a struggle because one size does not fit all!  Even though the refineries I work in all provide PPE free of cost, I typically purchase my own (except respiratory protection) because of this very reason.  My ear plugs are custom molded to my ears (Company called DB Blocker), my safety glasses use carbon fiber frames and  have the transition shades as well as my prescription, and I even buy my own gloves because I do a lot of climbing and I want gloves that will hold up.  I guess the point is that it takes a little time to figure out what works for you.  When you find it, stock pile it because often times these companies like to move on to the next great thing that doesn't work for you.

As for the respirators in these plants I work in, you typically only see one manufacturer used.  Sometimes 2 but, usually just one.  From there, they fit test everyone on that equipment in the size they need. Everyone did know that they come in different sizes right? So, if you don't have your fit test card when I'm writing your permit, I'm not going to issue you the permit because you can't do the job safely.

I consider myself fortunate to have gone through many fit tests in my 30 year career.  I get a little more comfort in the shop knowing that the respirator I put on is the correct size and fit for my face.  It's unfortunate these tests aren't more readily available to consumers that buy these masks and assuming that they're working correctly and protecting them.

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