There are over 12,000 lung disease deaths each year that are linked to past exposure in working environments.
When you think of personal protective equipment what comes to mind? A Hard hat, safety glasses, steel toe cap boots… What about half and full face masks? With or without filter? A powered hood or helmet with breathing apparatus?
What is RPE?
Respiratory protective equipment or RPE as it is more commonly known is equipment that is designed to protect workers in environments where hazardous particulates could be inhaled and the risks of lung health issues in the future are increased.
From Mesothelioma and Silicosis to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Work-Related Asthma, the risks of lung disease and the health complications they cause are very real and highly documented.
Sawing or sanding wooden materials, cutting concrete or stonework and removing old paintwork all produce fine respirable dust that can be invisible to the naked eye and remain airborne for up to 8 hours.
Colourless and odourless vapours that are released into the air from handling specialist liquids or solvents, especially volatile chemical compounds.
Renovating old buildings where there is a risk of asbestos materials in the roofing, walls or tiles.
These environments all require comprehensive risk assessment and the adequate and suitable respiratory protection designed specifically for protection against hazards that are present.
What are the deciding factors for Respiratory Protective Equipment?
This is absolutely an area where research and assessment of risks will determine the outcome.
Suitable and adequate RPE to protect workers in their environment is based on an understanding of;
- the hazardous substance and the amount in the air (exposure);
- the form of the substance in the air (eg gas, particle, vapour);
- the type of work being carried out;
- any specific wearer requirements, such as other PPE or a need for spectacles.
Our aim here is to provide you with a brief overview of some of the information we have learnt along the way and as always, we aim to link you to informative sites and documents outside of our blog, so that you can read and research in greater detail and arm yourself with the knowledge you need to go home healthy.
For more in depth information then check out the HSE website and their advice on some of the links below!
Until next time,
The V-TUF Family.