RPE, Dust Masks & Respiratory Protection
Respiratory Protection All Types of RPE
At Start Safety, we take pride in offering an extensive range of dust masks and respiratory protective equipment (RPE). You will find everything required in our range to protect yourself from dangerous dust and vapours encountered in workplaces. All of our products in this range are ready to ship with fast next-day delivery.
Our status as a distributor allows us to receive exclusive discounts from manufacturers, enabling us to buy stock in bulk and offer competitive prices to our customers. We only stock quality equipment suitable for use in a commercial environment, giving you and your staff peace of mind that all your items will comply with UK health and safety requirements.
With so many styles, options, and filter types available, finding the best respiratory protection for your needs can be daunting. To help make things easier, we work directly with well-known manufacturers to help you find the right RPE for your requirements; you can pick up the phone and speak to a member of our friendly team on +44 (0)1905 794875 or reach out to us through the chat box.
Key Types Of Respiratory PPE (RPE)
Disposable Face Masks
These mostly single-use masks are ideal for low-intensity work in areas where hazards are present. They come in both valved and unvalved formats, with a range of styles to choose from to suit your individual needs.
Filtration levels available in this range include FFP2 and FFP3, with additional activated carbon masks available for use with nuisance odours.
These tight-fitting masks feature a body made of a soft rubber or similar mask. They are more robust in design and are suitable for low-medium intensity activity. Many models on offer feature removable filter cartridges, cutting down on long-term costs.
Filtration options within this range include; P3, ABEK1P3, and A2P3.
Full Face Masks
As the name suggests, these larger masks seal around the face’s outer edge, covering the users’ features with a see-through window. This is the only suitable mask to use when working with asbestos. Due to the hazardous environments this mask is appropriate for, there should be a consious effort made by the user to ensure the mask is properly fitted and tested.
These masks feature removable filtration cartirdges, with options including P3 Filters, A2P3 and ABEK1P3.
Powered Air Masks
These powered air masks offer respiratory protection for users with facial hair or those working long shifts in a physically intense environment. They are considered loose fitting and protect the wearer from hazards by creating a shield of lightly pressurised filtered air within the face covering. This positive air pressure prevents the ingress of particulates. However, this has limitations; for example, it cannot be worn when working with asbestos or in windy environments.
Who Should Wear RPE?
In the workplace, it is your employer's responsibility to ensure that adequate RPE equipment is used and, just as importantly, appropriately used. Below are a few examples of activities that require respiratory PPE include;
Particulates from welding can, over time, lead to cancer and damage to the nervous system.
If cutting bricks or concrete, the silica dust produced can cause illnesses such as silicosis. Engineered wood, such as MDF, can release elements that can cause lung cancer if inhaled.
Painting, glueing and varnishing, as well as many other tasks, can release fumes which can cause dizziness, headaches and nausea.
Sweeping and even using cleaning chemicals can kick up dust or aerosolise solvents that can cause long-term health issues if proper protection is not worn.
Working With Asbestos
The fine fibres released by disturbed asbestos can cause mesothelioma, a rare type of lung cancer.
Whether you are carrying out maintenance in a dusty loft space or blasting brake dust off a train carriage, running gear appropriate RPE should be worn.
Key Factors When Selecting And Using RPE
Face Fit Testing
Badly fitting PPE, in general, is a bad thing; with RPE, this is especially true. Any air gap around the filtering device can allow hazardous substances to seep in, leaving you unprotected. To ensure that your chosen RPE fits correctly, you must get your face fit tested. Face fit testing is done by a competent professional who will ensure that your breathing apparatus fits properly to your face without leaks.
Maintaining your RPE is essential, especially with reusable items such as half masks and full-face devices. Maintaining the device should include ensuring filters are not expired, straps are not damaged, and any valves and diaphragms are not worn or leaking. All staff members should keep a maintenance log for their RPE, ensuring it is always fit for purpose.
The filtering nature of RPE means that it restricts the airflow for the wearer, both when inhaling and exhaling. Physically involved roles can cause disposable masks to be knocked from the face, whilst tight-fitting masks may leave you unable to catch your breath. It is also possible with unvented masks to breathe out hard enough that the mask may dislodge from your face, breaking the air tight seal.
Unfortunately, facial hair is the sworn enemy of tight-fitting RPE. Any level of stubble around the cheeks sealing area of a filtering device will lead to air leakage. There are a few select moustache styles that are compatible with RPE, but for the most part, a close shave is required to be completely safe. If you cannot shave, then powered air should be considered if appropriate.
Compatibility With Other PPE
If you need to wear other items of PPE such as goggles, face shields, ear defenders or even a high visibility jacket, it is essential to ensure that it does not interfere with the fit of your mask. Consequently, we would always recommend buying PPE products from the same manufacturer whenever possible. We would also recommend that you check the compatibility of your RPE at the start of each use by fully articulating your head, ensuring it does not dislodge your respirator.
Tight-fitting RPE can only be worn for 1 hour at a time, after which you should take a break. This ensures that the wearer does not become fatigued from the extra effort required to draw breath through the filter layers.
Other Types Of Personal Protective Equipment
If you are not looking for protective respiratory supplies, consider looking at our wider range of PPE.
Keep your head safe from falling objects with our wide range of hard hats for use in the workplace or on site.
Keep your hands safe from splinters, cuts, cold temperatures and more.
Ensure your feet are protected with our range of work boots and safety trainers.
Our range of safety eyewear contains everything you need to protect your eyes and face from flying debris.
Choose from a range of quality ear defenders, each with a designated SNR rating.
Need Help Finding The Right PPE?
Speak to our friendly sales team today about our wide range of RPE and personal protective equipment. We have expert staff who are here to help you find the best-fitting item for your needs. Call us today on +44 (0)1905 794875.
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