Respiratory Protection Basics

Who needs respiratory protection? Everyone should be familiar with the basic issues regarding respiratory protection.  However, there are many more issues that need to be addressed as part of a comprehensive Respiratory Protection Program (RPP).  If you are responsible for managing or administering your company’s RPP the following are some questions you will need to be able to answer:

  • Do you require respirators in your workplace?
  • Who needs a respirator to keep safe at work?
  • Are your employees trained on how to use, care, and maintain respirators?
  • Have employees been cleared to wear respirators by a medical professional?
  • Are there different types of respirators?
  • Which type is right for your valuable staff?

What are the types of airborne hazards? Different respirators and filtering cartridges may be required to protect against different airborne hazards.  Some potential hazards are:

  • Gases and vapors, e.g., xylene, isopropyl alcohol
  • Mists and fogs, e.g., aerosol paints
  • Fumes, e.g., welding, brazing, lead, hexavalent chromium
  • Particulates, e.g., asbestos, silica, hexavalent chromium
    • Oxygen deficiencyresp-2-img

Respirator selection options:

  • Air purifying respirators
  • Filtering face piece particulate respirators/cartridges
  • Chemical cartridge respirators
  • Powered air purifying respirators
  • Canister respirators
  • Air supplying respirators:
  • Supplied air systems
  • Self contained breathing apparatus

Employer requirements: Additional employer information and action is required in accordance with the occupational safety and health regulations covering respiratory protection. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Establishing a written respirator program
  • Medical considerations
  • Respirator fit testing
  • Negative and positive pressure user fit checks
  • Comprehensive user training, e.g., procedures for the use, care, maintenance, and storage of the respirator.

What’s on your face can save your lungs and life!

First Aid Basics

photo_of_band-aid_on_thumbThe essential rules of first aid:

• Rule 1: Call 911 if needed.

− Time is important. If it is determined that emergency medical services are needed, call immediately.

• Rule 2: You must be properly trained and certified in first aid and CPR in order to assist an injured person.

− You may do more harm than good if you are not properly trained.

• Rule 3: Do not move an injured person:

− Do not try to move an injured person unless the person is in imminent danger. Improper or careless movement can increase the severity of an injury.

Types of injuries:

• Fractures: Treating broken bones is not for amateurs. Leave the victim in place until a medical professional arrives with proper supplies and equipment.

• Electrical wire contact: If a person has come into contact with a live electrical wire, a properly trained individual may try to free the person if it can be done in a safe manner.

• Chemical splash, burn, or ingestion: Different first aid steps will be required based on the chemical and the part of the body that came in contact with the chemical. Refer to the safety data sheet (SDS) on file for required first aid procedures.

• Minor injuries, such as burns, nicks, cuts, and scratches:
− These are the most common injuries you will encounter.

− Treating minor injuries right away is better than dealing with them after they have gotten worse.

− If a chemical is not involved in the injury, clean the wound with soapy water for three minutes, and cover it with a bandage.

− If the injury involves contact with another person’s bodily fluid, including blood, saliva, or open wound, follow the post-exposure steps in your bloodborne pathogen exposure control plan.

Follow additional workplace guidelines:

• Report all incidents to the supervisor immediately.

• If you do not know how to handle a situation:

− Activate the Emergency Action Plan.
− Call 911.
− Get help immediately.