Personal Protective Equipment

Different types of respirators

Certain jobs require the use of a respirator. They are most often used when toxic substances or harmful particles are present in the air. There are several respirators available and each one is designed to do a different task. You maybe asking yourself what are the different types of respirators? Well I intend to tell you and to help you decide which one best fits your workplace needs.

Which Respirator Do I Need?

The Most common type of respirator is half mask disposable respirator. They are intended for one time use and than should be thrown away. The disposable respirator is designed to prevent small particles such as dust from entering your lungs. They are light weight and often more comfortable than other respirators. Men should have a clean shaven face when wearing this type of mask. The facial hair can cause a gap in between the mask and the skin making the respirator useless.

The second type of respirator is the reusable half face. This is made of a sturdy plastic. Much like the disposable it only covers the nose and mouth. It has changeable filters on the front. The half face reusable respirator is most often used for mining,chemicals,gasoline and welding. If you are required to wear a respirator everyday it is more cost efficient to use this and replace the filters.

The third type of respirator is the reusable full face. It is designed to cover from the bottom of your chin to your hair line. Along with protecting your lungs it helps to reduce injury to your eyes. Because if it's size the full face mask is slightly heavier than the half and can be uncomfortable at first. It is used for many of the same jobs as the half respirator as well as painting,asbestos,farming and hazardous materials. The only real benefit of the full mask is the added eye protection.

Replaceable Cartridges For Reusable Respirators

The air purifying cartridge in the reusable respirators needs to be replaced after a certain amount of time or exposure. There are several different colors and each one has it's own use.

  • White is used for acid gas.
  • Yellow is for acid gases and organic vapors.
  • Purple is used to reduce particulates.
  • Orange is also used to for certain particulates.
  • Olive can be used for multiple contaminates.
  • Black is specifically for organic vapors.
  • Teal is made for particulates that are free of oil.
  • Green is used while working with Ammonia gasses.
It is important to know what type of filter your mask requires for your job. Using the wrong filter is basically like going without a mask at all.

Now you know the different types of respirators. Make sure you always use them when needed. They may seem like a pain or unnecessary but they can and will save your life if you wear them and use them correctly.

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