Respiratory Protection in the Industry
Learn why protecting workers from respiratory diseases is more critical now!
Every year, OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard 29 CFR 1910.134 appears as one of the top 10 most frequently cited standards. Despite the fact that an estimated 5 million workers are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million workplaces throughout the United States.
The truth is, respirators protect workers from harmful dust like silica, beryllium, coal, hard metals, and asbestos, vapors, and sprays. Yes, all these hazards can cause cancer, lung impairment, diseases, or death. However, with a combination of more respiratory risks - like welding fumes recently classified by the World Health Organization as a Group 1 carcinogen and respiratory technology taking another step forward – protecting workers from respiratory diseases is more of a concern.
Since many environments are different, it’s important to provide workers with the correct respiratory devices they need to wear. A thorough written program is a core component of an effective and complete respiratory protective program.
According to 29 CFR 1910.134, employers must create and maintain an individualized, written respiratory program if their employees are required to use respirators. Also, employers must choose the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) certified respirators for their employees when respirators are required.
Even when wearing a respirator, if you’re not properly trained on how to use it, it will not protect you. Present training in a way that is easy to understand and it should include the following:
When exposure cannot be identified or reasonably estimated, the atmosphere must be considered as immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH).
Ensure your workers are thoroughly trained on atmospheric hazards in their workspace, signs are posted to warn them to wear respirator equipment, and they’re provided with the right personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them safe.
For more information on OSHA’s respiratory protection, visit here.
Lockout tagout is a safety procedure that ensures machines and equipment are properly shut off during maintenance or repair work.