Avoid Contaminants in the Air: Develop a Respirator Program for Your Workers

respirators

When there are contaminants in the air, workers are at risk for respiratory hazards. Some of the airborne contaminants of concern include biological contaminants, dusts, mists, fumes, and gases, or oxygen-deficient atmospheres.

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), respirators should be used to protect against those contaminants if other hazard control methods aren’t effective. Some of those control methods include mechanical ventilation, enclosure or isolation of the process or work equipment, proper control and use of process equipment, and process modifications, including substation of less hazardous materials.

It’s helpful to have a written respirator program so employees know how to choose a respirator, if that is the desired manner in which they can protect themselves from contaminants.

If you’ve never created a written respirator program before, CCOHS offers this list of what such a program should contain:

  • Hazard identification and control
  • Exposure assessment
  • Respirator selection
  • Respirator fit-testing
  • Training program
  • Inspection and record keeping
  • Cleaning and sanitizing respirators
  • Repairing and maintaining respirators
  • Proper storage of respirators
  • Health surveillance
  • Standard operating procedures (available in written form)
  • Program evaluation

If you don’t already have one, develop your respiratory program today and encourage the proper use of this and all PPE (personal protective equipment) in your workplace.

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