Respirators are essential, especially when you are working in hazardous environments that are littered with dust, hazardous fumes, gases, and vapors. They protect users by filtering out airborne particles, chemicals, and gases.
Given how important they are to employees, it is only proper that OSHA and other government bodies are mandating that respirators be properly maintained and cared for.
If you are using one religiously, here’s how you can keep your safety device in tiptop shape.
- Don’t just put it on–inspect it.
Carefully inspect your respirator every time before using it. Check if there are tears, cracks, or dirt in the material, and scrutinize if the face seal is still snug. Also, check your exhalation and inhalation valves, gaskets, and straps for any tell-tale signs of wear and tear. Your lenses should also be free from anything that can impair your vision.
- Clean it.
Go with OSHA’s Mandatory Respirator Cleaning Procedures. This calls for removing and disassembling components and discarding or repairing any defective parts. Next, you are expected to wash the components in warm water with a cleaner or a mild detergent. This step is followed by a thorough rinsing of the product in clean, warm water. Then, the components must be hand-dried. You are then to reassemble the pieces and test that everything works as they should. It may seem like a cumbersome process, but remember that your respirator may be the only thing between you and hazardous chemicals.
- Maintain it.
Make it a point to clean your respirators after every use, so that the dirt and grime wouldn’t be stuck for a long time. You should also store your respirator in a cool, dry place, and you can also use a storage bag for added protection. If you are storing your respirator, then remove the cartridge and store it in a container to avoid contamination. Finally, have a schedule as to when your cartridge should be changed, or when you should have a new filter.
KC Supply Co understands that it may be difficult to clean and maintain your respirators the first time around. But with proper guidance and practice, you can get the hang of things in no time.