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Respirator Styles

Disposable (Air Purifying)
These maintenance-free respirators have many advantages such as comfort, lightweight materials, availability of adjustable straps, as well as overall economy. And depending on your applications, you can select a respirator that offers the features and technologies that best meet your needs.

Reusable (Air Purifying)
These respirators are specifically designed to offer versatility, comfort and long life. Suitable for either negative or positive pressure uses, they can use filters and/or cartridges in a wide variety of combinations for a wide range of applications.

Maintenance-Free (Air Purifying) Respirators
These APR's come already assembled with a variety of gas or chemical cartridges. Filters are also available for additional protection against particulates and other nuisance odors. These respirators are economically priced to be disposed of after their predetermined usage.

Low-Maintenance (Air Purifying) Respirators
Combining flexibility and economy, these respirators give you affordable protection with the flexibility of reusable respirators. They also give you the ability to interchange cartridges, filters, and prefilters to give you the protection you need at a price that is right.

Powered (Air Purifying) Respirators – PAPR
A PAPR is a motorized (battery powered) air system that delivers a continuous flow of filtered air. These systems come available with a variety of head protection options; hoods, helmets and facepieces. Select the best option that lends itself to the environment.

Supplied Air & Airline Respirators
These respirators are designed to deliver clean air to the worker. The air can be supplied from high pressure, low pressure, or cylinder sources. A variety of headgear are available; hoods, helmets, and facepieces. These respirators add comfort and protection.

Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus – SCBA
These systems are designed to let users transport their own supply of air. With a variety of harness and cylinder choices, an SCBA gives the protection needed in most oxygen deficient or IDLH situations that typically take place in confined space environments.

Emergency Escape only Breathing Apparatus – EBA
These lightweight systems utilize small air tanks for quick, comfortable and safe exits from IDLH atmospheres, as well as, confined spaces. These compact systems can be donned and put into use within a matter of seconds which helps expedite the departure from within dangerous environments.

OSHA Top 10 List
Top 10 things an employer needs to know about 29 CFR 1910.134(C)(1)

The employer shall provide...
1. And implement a written respiratory protection program with worksite-specific procedures. This program shall be updated as necessary to reflect changes in workplace conditions. The employer shall include in the program the following provisions of this section, as applicable...
2. Procedures for selecting respirators for use in the workplace.
3. Medical evaluations of employees required to use respirators.
4. Fit-testing procedures for tight-fitting respirators.
5. Procedures for proper use of respirators in routine and reasonably foreseeable emergency situations.
6. Procedures and schedules for the cleaning, disinfecting, storing, inspecting, repairing, discarding, and otherwise maintaining of respirators.
7. Procedures to ensure adequate air quality, quantity, and flow of breathing air for atmospheresupplying respirators.
8. Training of employees in the respiratory hazards to which they are potentially exposed during routine and emergency situations.
9. Training of employees in the proper use of respirators, including putting on and removing them, any limitations on their use, and their maintenance.
10. Procedures for regularly evaluating the effectiveness of the program.

Assesing Respiratory Hazards

AIR SAMPLING
Air sampling must be the first objective to analyze the potential hazard(s). Using the proper air sampling or monitoring equipment, samples should be taken within the breathing zone and should be spot-checked as well as monitored continuously.

OXYGEN
Oxygen displacement may be a problem in a work area. Gases like carbon dioxide, which can result in an atmosphere that is dangerous or fatal if inhaled, may displace oxygen. But oxygen levels can also be depleted by rust, corrosion, fermentation and other forms of oxidization that consumes oxygen. Oxygen levels that drop below 20.8% are a concern. When levels drop below 19.6% the air is considered deficient; and when they’re under 16% the air is unsafe for human exposure.

PARTICULATES
Particulates are classified according to their physical and chemical characteristics and their effects on the body. They’re measured in microns (1 micron=1/2540 inch). That’s important because particulates that are less than 10 microns have a fair chance of entering the body through the respiratory system, and those under 5 microns can reach the deeper parts of the lungs. Although a healthy body should naturally expel particulates of five or ten microns, excessive particulate levels reduce the lungs cleansing effectiveness and makes them inefficient.

Particulate contaminants are classified as fumes, dusts or mists.

-FUMES
When solid materials such as metals are heated and the cooled, portions of the solids are vaporized into what are commonly called fumes. Welding, cutting, smelting and casting molten metals create fumes with particulate sizes often less than one micron.

-DUST
Minute airborne particulates that are created by the breaking up of larger particles are simply called dust. Sanding, grinding, crushing, and sand blasting create high levels of dust. Although dust particles are generally larger than fume particulates (.5-10 microns), the hazard comes from the overall high volume that is produced.

-MISTS
Atomizing, and then condensing of liquids create mists. Most often caused by spraying, boiling or cleaning jobs, mists tend to be in the 5-10 micron range.

If any of these operations are involved in your overall assessment, you might need to either change the environment or consider the use of respiratory equipment.

GASES AND VAPORS
Gases and vapors are classified according to their chemical characteristics. True gases, like air, can diffuse freely within an area or a container. Commonly monitored gases include carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), chlorine (CI2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Vapors are liquids or solids in the gaseous state formed at room temperature during evaporation. Gasoline, solvents and thinners create vapors.

ADEQUATE WARNING
Another element of hazard assessment is determining whether the contaminant has adequate warning properties. If it doesn’t, then the use of a respirator that utilizes a chemical cartridge or canister with a service life indicator (warns when the service life is ready to expire) or a documented change-out schedule (test results used to determine service life) must be utilized.

RESPIRATOR SELECTION
If the work conditions cannot be changed to alleviate a hazard, proper respiratory equipment must be selected. Respiratory equipment selection is typically dictated by (1) the results of the sampling, (2) the accepted authoritative guidelines and (3) the level of concentrations of a given impurity the respirator can withstand. The ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists), OSHA and NIOSH each have their own guidelines for determining the equipments abilities, and all are based on what a normally healthy person can tolerate in an eight hour work day and a five day work week. Most workplaces follow the OSHA guidelines taken from the NIOSH standards.

Assessing hazards can be a detailed and ongoing process that must be monitored for changes in processes and the environment. However, a little training, proper documentation, the good monitoring equipment and a commitment to schedule will make hazard assessment routine and easy to maintain.

MSA Respiratory Protection Interactive Training

Respiratory Protection Airgas.com Resources

OSHA Consultation Services

Factors That Can Influence Respirator Selection
Hazard & Contaminant Types
Respirator Styles
Welding Fumes & Gases – How to Avoid Overexposure

Catalog

Airgas has an array of respiratory protection equipment to fit your needs, whether it's disposable facemasks,PAPR,SCBA, or supplied air systems, you'll find respiratory protection equipment here.

Disposable Masks
APR Masks, Cartridges, and Masks
S.C.B.A.
Respiratory Accessories

Respiratory Protection Airgas.com Resources