Yesterday, we talked about selecting respirators, fitting them to employees’ faces, and performing seal checks. Today, we’ll cover fit-testing, inspection, and maintenance, and we’ll tell you about a respirator training program that puts it all together for your workers.
OSHA says that all respirators that rely on a mask-to-face seal must be checked with either a qualitative or quantitative fit test to determine whether the respirator provides an acceptable leak-free fit. Respirators have to be fit-tested the first time employees use them and annually thereafter.
Qualitative fit-test procedures rely on a subjective sensation—smell, taste, or irritation—of the user to a particular test agent to find out whether or not a respirator is leaking. The quantitative fit test uses instruments to measure face seal leakage.
Relative workplace exposure level determines what constitutes an acceptable fit and which fit-test procedure is required. OSHA says you can use either a qualitative or a quantitative fit-test procedure for exposure levels less than 10 times the regulatory occupational exposure limit. If the exposure level is greater than 10 times the occupational exposure limit, you have to use a quantitative fit test procedure.
Both qualitative and quantitative fit-testing options are fully described in Appendix A of the respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134).
Try a demo of BLR’s remarkable new Employee Training Center at no cost or obligation.
Before and After Use
To provide adequate protection, respirators must be inspected before each use and properly cleaned and stored after use.
Before employees don a respirator, make sure they:
- Double-check air-purifying respirators to ensure labels and colors on cartridges or canisters match the hazard.
- Verify that air cylinders are fully charged for air-supplying respirators and that the regulator and warning devices are working properly.
- Check that all connections are tight.
- Look for holes, cracks, or other damage.
- Check filters, cartridges, and canisters for dents or corrosion.
- Look for signs of wear in elastic and plastic parts.
- Report any problems with respirators and get a replacement.
After use, make sure employees:
- Follow required cleaning and disinfecting procedures (see Appendix B-2 of 29 CFR 1910.134).
- Store respirators and cartridges dry in a clean container or bag.
- Store respirators with the facepiece in a normal position.
- Avoid leaving a respirator upside down, uncovered, or otherwise at risk of setting in an abnormal position.
Unlimited training—one low cost. Demo the new Employee Training Center. There’s no cost or obligation.
Perfect Training for Your Workers
The perfect respirator safety training program for your employees is available in the Employee Training Center’s 43-slide "Respiratory Protection" audio PowerPoint® presentation. The course covers respiratory protection from every perspective, including:
- Respiratory hazards
- When respirators are needed
- How respirators work
- Assigned protection factors (APFs)
- Types of respirators
- Selecting the right respirator for the hazards
- Respirator filter codes
- Fit testing
- Seal checks
- Respirator inspection
- Respirator maintenance and storage
The course also includes detailed speaker’s notes, interactive exercises, and a quiz to make sure your workers get the message.
And the "Respiratory Protection" course is just one of more than 60 safety training courses available in the Employee Training Center. These are all motivational, actionable programs—for both supervisors and employees—in such key areas as hazard communication, back safety, general workplace safety, bloodborne pathogens, OSHA requirements, and many more. And, what’s more, we add new programs continually.
Just as important, the Employee Training Center automatically documents training. As trainees sign on, their identifications are automatically registered. And when the program is completed, the trainee’s score is entered. So, when you want to see who has or hasn’t yet trained on any subject, or look at the across-the-board activity of any one employee, it’s all there, instantly available to you, your boss, an inspector—even a plaintiff’s attorney.
The Employee Training Center also includes a similar selection of HR courses—you decide whether you want just the safety courses or both the safety and HR modules.
And from the standpoint of your accounting office (an important standpoint in these tight times), you always know exactly what training will cost, no matter how many programs you use or how many times you use them. There’s just one low annual fee for unlimited training, calculated by the size of your workforce. Budget once and you’re done!
We urge you to sign up for a no-obligation demo by visiting the new Employee Training Center. Or, feel free to call our customer service people toll-free at 866-696-4827.
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