Breathing is second nature to us. We take thousands of breaths each day and we don’t even think about it. This means we’re likely taking in toxins and dangerous gases all the time. Sometimes there are situations at work where the atmosphere is dangerous and could lead to difficulty breathing, injury, or even death. Here’s what you need to know for respiratory protection tips.
7 Tips For Keeping Your Lungs Safe
1. Breathing on job sites
There are many hazardous places on a job site, so it’s important to take personal responsibility for protecting your breathing. Your employer should let you know about the potential hazards and how to avoid them. They should provide you with the right equipment and knowledge to protect yourself, but it’s up to you to use it all properly.
2. Types of breathing hazards
Breathing hazards come in many forms, and since you can’t always see or smell them, you need to know what to look for. Sometimes the oxygen in the atmosphere where you’re working is contaminated, meaning that it’s filled with dust, vapors, or fumes.
Other times the air is oxygen deficient, meaning the oxygen level is below 19.5%, not fit for human breathing. Some of these atmospheres can be immediately fatal while others can cause tissue damage to the lungs and other organs. Some cause less extreme effects such as dizziness, slurred speech, or nausea.
3. Respiratory Protection Standards
Employers must take certain steps to make sure their employees are protected. This means they must supply respirators to their workers and must establish a respiratory protection program that includes step by step instructions for using, storing, and maintaining respirators. Make sure you’re familiar with your company’s procedures so you can stay safe.
Respirators can be used to help you breathe easier when you’re working in atmospheres with deficient or contaminated oxygen. Some provide clean air so you can breathe while you work. All types of respirators must be tested, properly maintained, and approved before they’re used.
5. Air purifying respirators
There are two types of respirators. The first type of respirator, an air-purifying respirator, uses filters to remove or neutralize contaminants from the air before it’s inhaled. Cartridges and canisters remove certain gases and vapors from the surrounding air. They don’t supply oxygen so they can’t be used when oxygen is low.
6. Atmosphere supplying respirators
These respirators bring uncontaminated oxygen to you from another source. Two examples are airline respirators, which allows you to get fresh air from outside of the contaminated area, and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which provides you with a limited air supply to allow you to breathe in contaminated areas.
7. Use the respirator properly
You should read all directions before you attempt to use a respirator. Never remove your respirator, even for a brief amount of time. And never use parts from one type of respirator for another. This can prevent it from working properly.
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