Respiratory Protective Equipment

My Safety Gear

As I write this blog the number of COVID-19 related deaths worldwide passes the 2.3 million mark, each and everyone a tragic event in the lives of their families and friends; for which I am sure we are all truly sorry. The reason that this figure is significant is that this is the same as that for workplace deaths resulting from occupational injury and ill-health that occur each year as stated by the International Labour Organisation.

Consider that just for a moment.

Of those work related deaths many could have been avoided by application of robust health and safety control procedures. I would like to address one area of those controls in this blog today.

Many people will be aware of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations commonly referred to as COSHH. This comprehensive regulatory frame works seeks to prevent the entry of substances into the body (routes of entry) which can cause both local and systemic harm to the person.

The routes of entry are generally classified as:

• Dermal Absorption (Skin)
• The Eyes
• The Gastrointestinal tract (Ingestion)
• The Inhalation (Lungs)

In this piece I would like to concentrate upon the inhalation of toxic substances, the consequences of inhalation and the actions of last resort in terms of respiratory protective equipment such as face masks and powered respirators.

There are many substances in the workplace that, if inhaled, will lead to ill-health. The effects of substances such as wood dust, asbestos, brick dust (free chrystalline Silica) and metal fumes can and often do have serious effects upon those who are unfortunate enough to be exposed to them. The principle effects are:

Such as carbon monoxide which displaces and then replaces oxygen from oxyhaemoglobin to form carboxyhaemoglobin

Where irritant substances generate allergic reactions within the individual. These allergens can lead to Occupational Asthma and other serious conditions.

Systemic Poisoning
Where toxic substances act directly on the body such as lead which affects the blood and the brain and mercury which affects the nervous system and kidneys

Such as mesothelioma; a cancer of the lining of the lungs associated with the inhalation of asbestos fibres.

Exposure to chemicals such as lead can result in the reduced fertility in men and an increased likelihood of still-birth. Teratogenicity can result in the abnormalities in the embryo leading to the effects above.

It can be clearly seen and understood that the human effects of failure to control substances hazardous to health can have life changing and indeed life ending consequences.

As usual I now refer to the hierarchy of controls

  • Elimination
  • Substitution
  • Barrier
  • Safe System of Work
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)

It is important that each of the first four stages are fully addressed before moving on to the 5th element – PPE.

There are a number of leading manufacturers and suppliers of respiratory protection in the market place; we are all familiar with names like 3M, JSP and Moldex.

I would like to concentrate on two suppliers at this time namely Moldex and JSP.

Here at My Safety Gear we are pleased to offer an extensive range of Moldex products including the very popular and versatile Moldex 7000 series half face mask. This mask comes in three sizes small, medium and large and is therefore ideal for the full range of face sizes and shapes we encounter during our mask fitting or face fit testing appointments.

The power of the Moldex 7000 series, I believe, comes from the Easylock Filter attachment system. In addition to the P1, P2 and P3 particulate filters There are a wide range of gas filters protecting from organic, inorganic, acid and ammonia; should you require help with this selection we have the full support of the Moldex technical team to assist us in helping you so please call us on Great Yarmouth 01493 658571 and will do our best to help you. There are also a number of combined filters that you might find useful.

Remember that this product requires a “face fit test” to be effective. But by sticking with this versatile half-face mask it can be used for different applications rather than different masks for different jobs thus saving the need for multiple fit tests.

This is by no means the extent of our offer so please look through the web-site or give us a call.

The Power Cap® Infinity® is the leading product in the Powered Respirator field, offering a fully integrated air respirator in one intuitive head mounted unit. This product gives the wearer complete “above the neck” protection. PowerCap® Infinity® is the choice for many industries where dust poses a danger to health. The unit provides the very latest in Powered Air Purifying Respiratory technology combining respiratory, head, eye and face protection in this one unique product.

This product does not need to be fit tested and is therefore ideal for anyone sporting a beard!

Here at My Safety Gear we have JSP trained advisors to ensure that you get the very best out of your Power Cap® Infinity®, we also carry a wide range of consumables and spare parts should you need them.

Author: Alan Baugh MSc. CMIOSH

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