This month’s article is about the fourth most frequently cited violation: respiratory protection. About five million workers are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million workplaces throughout the United States, according to the US. Department of Labor (DOL). Respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors and sprays. These hazards may cause respiratory tract irritation as well as more serious outcomes including cancer, lung impairment, diseases or death. Compliance with the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard could avert hundreds of deaths and thousands of illnesses annually.
Respirators protect the user in two basic ways. The first is by the removal of contaminants from the air. Respirators of this type include particulate respirators, which filter out airborne particles, and air-purifying respirators with cartridges or canisters that filter out chemicals and gases. Other respirators protect by supplying clean respirable air from a known source. Respirators that fall into this category include airline respirators, which use compressed air from a remote source, and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which include their own air supply.
It may seem like a hassle to wear respiratory protection, but contaminants — no matter how small — can cause both short-term and long-term health problems.
Respirators are an important safety and health protection tool when used properly. If you exercise proper respirator maintenance, it will protect your workers from harmful, airborne contaminants and particles.
Whether it's for mandatory or voluntary respirator use, those responsible for safety in their organizations should know the difference and provide specific details to employees for proper protection.
Looking for a training resource to help you meet your risk management and safety requirements? The Associated Compass learning management system offers a wide range of safety and risk management courses, including respiratory protection. Contact us to learn more.
Amy assists clients with identifying and mitigating risk, resolves carrier loss prevention recommendations, develops and implements safety programs, evaluates training needs and delivers customized training solutions.
Amy assists clients with identifying and mitigating risk, resolves carrier loss prevention recommendations, develops and implements safety programs, evaluates training needs and delivers customized training solutions. She brings a practical approach that has been developed in the real world which translates into improving client safety performance. Amy’s strengths include developing safety programs compliant with OSHA and DOT regulations, conducting management and employee training, organizing and leading safety committees, enhancing safety awareness and building safety cultures and facilitating carrier loss control inspections.
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