Frequently asked questions
What is a respirator?
A respirator is a device that protects you from inhaling dangerous substances, such as chemicals and infectious particles. Respirators are among the most important pieces of protective equipment for working in hazardous environments. Selecting the right respirator requires an assessment of all the workplace operations, processes or environments that may create a respiratory hazard.
Why do I need a respirator fit test?
Each person’s face is unique. For a respirator to protect, it must seal snugly to the face at all sealing surfaces. OSHA and UHS require all respirator users to have a fit test.
Can any respirator be used?
No, respirators shall be selected on the basis of hazards to which the worker is exposed (i.e., particulates, vapors, oxygen-deficiency, or combination). The Art Department has selected a reusable half face piece respirator that can be compatible with all of the hazardous materials identified in art classrooms and workshops.
When is the use of respirators required?
Your instructor or UHS EOH will let you know instances in which you should wear your respirator. OSHA’s respirator standard, 29 CFR 1910.134, requires the use of respirators to protect workers from breathing contaminated air when effective engineering controls are not feasible, or while they are being instituted. Several other OSHA regulations also require the use of respirators.
Do I really have to shave to wear a respirator?
Yes, even a day’s stubble will compromise your protection by interfering with the mask to face seal. You can have a mustache and a tightly trimmed goatee that ends right at the chin line. Consider keeping shaving supplies nearby if your need for a respirator is hard to predict from day to day. Read an article from the Center for Disease Control about shaving.
Will my cartridge/filter and respirator mask protect forever?
No. Cartridges, filters, and masks get old. If the filter cartridges are outdated, have been open to the air or are damaged, you may not be protected. Cartridges that contain charcoal or other chemicals for filtering the air should be kept in air-tight packages until use. If cartridges are open or not packed in air-tight packaging, they should not be used. Even cartridges in original packaging have expiration dates that should be checked before purchase and use. Also, over time your mask can get old and break down. Keep your mask in a clean, dry place, away from extreme heat or cold. Inspect it before and after use according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Cartridges also have a limited service life; they must be changed periodically during use.