Dust particulates are hazardous respiratory contaminants. Depending on the line of work you are in such as chemical or construction industries. Toxic particles, smoke, fumes, and contaminants create a variety of debilitating health issues in these environments. That is why it is necessary for you to have a protection program ready at hand. These pollutants cause respiratory diseases. Preparation helps avoid that.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) set regulations for protection. Contractors must set and implement a respiratory protection program. This is where a disposable respirator or filtered mask like the N95 mask and N99 mask comes in. These types of protection are intended for low-hazard use. To help prevent illnesses and diseases they ensure you are protected from atmospheric contaminations.
However, there are times when the workers become vulnerable to certain particulates. Failing to put on masks properly is the most common reason for this. Correct this.
Most particulate respirators come with an instruction guide, but if it’s not available for some reason, you can always follow the steps below:
1. Before wearing any masks, make sure that you have undergone fit testing. Find a perfectly fitting mask for your shape. No leaks should exist. Even though you feel like the mask fits you perfectly, it is not a guarantee that the mask will completely protect you from hazardous particulates. Avoid chewing gum or eating anything 15 minutes prior to fit testing. As not to interfere with the fitting, completely shave your beard.
2. Before you put on the mask, check it for any damage. If you do find any, do not use it and replace it with a new one.
3. Wash your hands before putting on the disposable respirators. This step is to make sure that no dust will come in contact with the inside of the mask and that you are putting on a clean respirator mask.
4. To wear it, place the respirator on your hand with the nosepiece touching your fingertips. Cup the mask with your hand with the straps hanging freely below and hold it up to your chin with the nosepiece up. Make sure straps are not crisscrossed. Place the straps on the back of the head.
5. Seal the mask by pushing the metal nose clip gently to mold it to the shape of your nose. Take a quick breath to check the mask is properly sealed. If you feel the air leaking to the outside, then there is not a proper seal. If this happens, readjust the nosepiece, or try a different size or model.
Training your employees on how to properly put on NIOSH-approved N95 mask or N99 masks helps a lot when it comes to ensuring that they are safe from any dust in the workplace. Ultimately, employers are responsible for implementing their respiratory program and should regularly verify that their employees are using their masks properly. This is the only way to guard them (and your business) from suffering any short-term or long-term problems.