Sunday, 4 March 2012

Breathing safely using a ‘one-time’ respirator

Having overcome the problems posed when there is a need to wear a suitable half face respirator, i.e. deciding on the type of respirator to wear, the necessary level of protection offered, the problems that can be posed by face fit testing, and many operators’ natural reluctance to wear any protection whatsoever regardless of their company’s rules, the next hurdle to be overcome is the strange reluctance of many operators to change what is usually a one-time use (disposable) respirator.
For some, as yet, unexplained reason, many operators that only wear face protection when the ‘boss’ is literally looking over their shoulder will then rarely if ever throw away or discard a mask which is full of dust and/or which has been stored badly. They will frequently don a mask if or when told to wear RPE, which has been literally hanging around for days. It is a sad and rather dangerous fact that most half face respirators spend much of their time simply dangling beneath the operator’s chin thereby collecting any dust floating in the atmosphere. Any dust so collected will then of course be breathed in by the operator when the mask is next worn!
Visit any construction site at any break time and you will be able to see numerous examples of disposable half face respirators being placed inside site safety helmets ready the operator to wear again after the break. The word ‘disposable’ obviously seems to have no effect on operators or their employers in the construction industry!

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