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This video explains the general requirements for an effective respiratory protection program. Covers written plan, use, care, cleaning, and storing of respirators, and provides information on self-contained breathing apparatus respiratory protection. Older Version.Excerpt:
The health of every worker is an important part of youroverall safety program. Of particular importance is the health and safety ofthose persons assigned to jobs with potential health hazards such as workingwith chemicals, exposure to gas, fumes, dusts, and mists. Spray paintingoperations may have health hazards if proper precautions are not taken.Naturally the most effective method of protecting workers is to reduce thehazard by using ventilation, non-toxic chemicals, and other engineering methods.Quite often these hazards may not be controlled through engineering methods sopersonal protection may then be required. That's what we want to discuss today,specifically addressing the basics of respiratory protection. We can't list allthe hazards, or even all the solutions to the problem. But we can point outsome general safety rules that apply generally to anyone using personalprotective equipment, specifically respirators.
An effective respiratory protection program begins with yourcompany. The company is responsible for providing the proper equipment for theintended purpose. The company is also responsible for establishing andmaintaining a respiratory protection program which includes the following:
- A written standard operating procedure governing theselection and use of respirators.
- Respirators shall be selected on the basis of hazards towhich the worker is exposed. This seems common sense, but it is a very complexand technical area that requires what the hazards are, such as specific chemicals,fumes, gases, and so on. If you know the hazard you can select the properprotection for that hazard.
- The user shall be instructed and trained in the proper useof respirators and the limitations of such equipment
- Respirators must be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Thoseused by more than one worker shall be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected aftereach use.
- Respirators must be stored in convenient, clean, andsanitary locations.
- Respirators must be routinely inspected during cleaning.Worn or deteriorated parts shall be replaced. Respirators for emergency usesuch as the self-contained breathing respirators must be inspected at leastmonthly, and after each use. Records must be kept on all inspections ofemergency-use respiratory equipment.
- When respirator use is required it is important to monitorthe work area conditions, and the degree of worker exposure or stress. Thismonitoring determines the degree of use or working time allowed in a particulararea of exposure
- It's also recommended that a regular inspection andevaluation be completed to determine the continued effectiveness of therespirator protection program.
- Persons should not be assigned to tasks requiring the use ofrespirators unless it has been determined that they are physically able toperform the work, and use the equipment. The local physician should make thedetermination of what health and physical conditions are pertinent to personsusing respiratory protection.
- Naturally all respirators must be approved for the particularhazard, and it must provide the necessary protection for that hazard.Generally, the respirators must be tested and approved in accordance withstandards established by competent authorities. The Bureau of Mines is thetesting and approval agency for most respirators in use today.
It's important to use the correct respirator for thespecific job hazard. Not all respirators protect you from all hazards. Thereare many different types, styles, and recommended uses for respirators. So it'simportant to understand what respirators will protect you from what specifichazard. Respiratory protection is no better than the respirator in use eventhough it's worn conscientiously. It's important to frequently inspect therespirators in the respiratory protection program to make sure the respiratorsare properly selected, used, and maintained. As we indicated earlier, trainingis an essential part of an effective program. Each worker who uses respiratoryprotection should have a good knowledge of what respirators can and can't do: Howto use the equipment, how to test it for a good seal, and have proper hands-ontraining to become familiar with the equipment. Don't take chances with yourequipment, or the knowledge you need to use the equipment properly.