Harnessing the Powered Air Purifying Respirator

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Differentiating between contaminants that are gaseous or dust can be crucial in ensuring your PAPR is the proper PAPR.
“Workers’ safety goes deeper and depends on more than simply donning their devices. Regardless of a company’s industry of operation (food & beverage, water treatment, construction, etc.), equipping decision-makers and end users with the knowledge of the available safety solutions based on their workplace environment helps ensure they’re choosing the proper device that matches, if not exceeds, the necessitated level of safety. In many instances, a powered air purifying respirator, otherwise known as a PAPR, can greatly improve its wearer’s safety, but it’s critical that it fits the workplace environment just as much as it fits its wearer.

Why Should I Consider Using a PAPR?
Elimination of Breathing Resistance
PAPRs differentiate themselves from negative pressure respirators through their motor blowers. Motor blowers draw air through a filter and into the wearer’s breathing zone, helping to reduce barriers to breathing, and also can provide a cooling sensation due to the mechanical movement of air. Not only does this reduce the overall burden on the wearer’s body, but also it expands which type of wearer can don the device. For example, those who are not medically cleared to use negative pressure respirators can begin to view PAPRs as a viable option because there is less strain on the wearer. However, it’s important to note that many employers require all potential PAPR wearers to undergo a medical evaluation to determine whether or not they can safely wear the proposed respirator.”
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Selecting Appropriate Respirators—A Complicated Matter

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“Respirators are among the most important pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) and choosing the correct one can be a complicated matter. Properly selected, fitted, used, and maintained respirators protect workers from airborne hazards, but they do not eliminate the hazards. If a respirator is inappropriate for a particular task, the wearer risks exposure to the hazards. Choosing the right respirator is the key.

Respiratory Hazards

During a normal day, the air we breathe is mostly nitrogen and oxygen. It does, however, contain trace amounts of harmful respiratory hazards. Fortunately, our lungs have protective mechanisms that keep those trace hazards from harming us. With repeated overexposure to harmful respiratory hazards, as may be the case in the workplace, our lung’s protective mechanisms break down, and we are at risk.

How hazardous a substance is depends upon its toxicity, chemical state, physical form, concentration, and the length of exposure. Examples of potential respiratory hazards include particulates (airborne dusts, fibers, fumes, mists, smoke, and biological contaminants—bacteria, viruses, and fungi), gases, vapors, and oxygen-deficient atmospheres. Gases expand freely to fill any and all available space. Vapors are the gaseous states of substances that are either liquids or solids at room temperature.”
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