Respiratory Protection Training DVD Program
Respiratory Protection Training DVD Excerpt
In today's world we encounter more airborne contaminants than ever before. That's why in the United states alone more than 5 million workers wear respirators on the job. Still over 66,000 suffer severe exposure to airborne contaminants each year, which can lead to blindness, lung damage, cancer, asbestosis, and other serious illnesses. Because of the severity of these problems the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created a regulation to protect workers from respiratory hazards. The regulation can be found in 29 CFR 1910.134. One of the things the regulation stresses is learning about respiratory hazards. They fall into three major groupings. Dust, Mist, and Fumes. Gases and Vapors. Oxygen deficiency and temperature extremes. Dust, mist, and fumes are tiny particles that were once part of a larger mass. Later they became separated from their parent substances and became airborne. Dust is produced when solid objects are broken down into fine particles. You can see this in woodworking, crushing, and grinding processes. Mist is made up of droplets that are suspended in the air. These are created when pressurized liquids are sprayed.
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In today’s world, we come in contact with more airborne contaminants than ever before.
In the U.S. alone, more than 5 million workers wear Respirators on the job. Still, over 66,000 U.S. workers suffer severe exposure to airborne contaminants each year.
Contact with these hazards can lead to: Loss of vision. Lung damage. Cancer. Asbestosis. Other serious illnesses. So the goal is to keep ourselves breathing safe, clean air while on the job. Respiratory hazards can be broken down into three major groupings: Dust, Mist and Fumes. Gases and Vapors. Oxygen deficiency and temperature extremes. Dust, mist and fumes are tiny particles that were once parts of a larger mass. Later they were separated from their “parent” substances and became airborne. Dust is produced when solid materials are broken down into fine particles during activities such as: Woodworking. Crushing. Grinding. Fumes are composed of solid particles given off when metals or plastics are heated, as in: Welding. Furnace operations. Unlike dust, mist and fumes, gases and vapors do not result from materials being fragmented. Instead, they are due to changes on the molecular level. For example, gases result when a substance is heated beyond a certain point. As a result, the space between its molecules increases.., and its density sharply decreases. At the same time, it expands, becoming diffused through the air. The molecules forming the gas do not break away from the material.., because the gas is the same substance in a different state. Materials can also exist in more than one state at the same time. For instances, a liquid can be heated to the point where only part of it is gaseous. When this happens, the gaseous part is often referred to as a vapor. Both gases and vapors can cause immediate irritation when they are inhaled. Many substances can become airborne at room temperature and mix with the air that you breathe. When this happens they can quickly move through your Respiratory System. The final group of respiratory hazards includes: Oxygen Deficiency. Temperature Extremes. Oxygen deficiency occurs most often in confined spaces, and is caused by: Chemical reactions. Fire. Gases that push breathable oxygen out of the area. A lack of oxygen can cause unconsciousness or even death in a matter of minutes. Temperature extremes can also be very dangerous. Hot air can burn your airway and prevent oxygen from being absorbed by your lungs. Severe cold can freeze your lungs and Respiratory Tract and make it impossible to breathe. Our body provides some protection from respiratory hazards through its natural defenses. During normal breathing, fresh air is drawn in through the nose, where coarse hairs trap large particles that have become airborne. Next, the air comes in contact with a blanket of mucus and cilia (tiny hairs which line the Respiratory Tract.)
The mucus and cilia push the smaller particles to the back of the throat. There they are either: Swallowed. Expelled by coughing. Under most conditions, your Respiratory System is an effective defense against normal hazards like house dust and pollen. However, dangerous substances like poisonous gases and vapors can sneak past our defensive system. They can potentially damage the brain and our internal organs. So when working around respiratory hazards you need to be “combat ready”. This means: Being aware of potential problems. Reading the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) for the substances you are working with. Following all safety procedures. To begin this process, your safety department will run tests on your work environment to determine if there are potential hazards in any particular area. If necessary, they will: Install air processing systems that filter the air. Set up Emergency Respirator Stations to protect you in the event of an accident involving airborne contaminates. Engineering Controls can also help to keep the air you breathe clean. They include: Lab hoods. Other ventilation systems. Environmental Controls such as spraying water on dry, dusty surfaces can also reduce airborne contaminates. But even with systems like these in place, you still may encounter situations where more protection is needed. In these cases, your employer will provide the proper respiratory equipment to do your job safely. However, if you suffer from a heart condition or asthma, you should not work in areas where respirators are required, unless you have the proper medical clearance. If you are cleared for respirator use, you will need to select a respirator that is right for your work. They are available in three basic types. Those that: Simply filter the air you breathe. Purify the air through chemical means. Provide their own source of clean, breathable air. In most situations, Air-Filtering Respirators will be what you need. NIOSH has set up standards for classifying Respirator Filters that can help determine which type of filter is best for the job you are doing. Because oil-aerosols can be particularly damaging to filters, NIOSH has created three filter classifications, based on the amount of oil-aerosols present on the work site. If the material in the air is oil-based, you must use a filter that is coded P (for oil-proof) or A (for oil- resistant). If no oil is present you can use an N coded Filter (not-oil-proof). When using any filter, make sure to follow all of the manufacturer’s recommendations. Pay special attention to the suggested “time use limits.” Once your employer has determined whether you should use N, R or P series filters, you have to decide what “strength” filter you need. Ratings following the N, R and P designations on the filter will tell you the efficiency in percentages. These are listed as 95%, 99% and 99.7 %(which is referred to as 100%). Talk to your supervisor to see which efficiency will best protect you at your work site. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency. But remember, it is more difficult to breathe through higher rated filters. So do not use a higher rating than you need. To easily identify different filter series, OSHA requires that all filters and cartridges: Be color-coded. Include approved labels that display the NIOSH rating. In areas where low levels of dust are the primary respiratory problem, a disposable Dust Mask is usually the way to go. Fibers in the mask trap and hold particles. To get a proper fit: Adjust the metal strip to conform with the bridge of your nose. Make sure the straps are not tangled. Place one strap below the ears and the other above them (this creates an even tension on the mask and provides the best seal). When your mask becomes clogged with dust, throw it away and get a new one. In areas where hazardous chemicals are present, more protection is required. Use an Air-Purifying Respirator with disposable cartridge filters, which capture gases and vapors through chemical means. Remember to check with your supervisor to see whether you need to use a P, R or N series filter to protect you from hazards. For greater protection in situations involving hazardous particles, you may want to add a pre-filter.
This traps the particles before they are absorbed by the cartridge filter.