Respiratory Protective Equipment – DUST MASKS

How much protection does a dust mask give?
Protection Factor of Dust Mask is 10. i.e Dust masks only provide protection to levels 10 times above the dust permissible Exposure Limit (PEL).
Example
Ø Wood dust permissible limit – 5 mg/Cubic Meter
Dust mask protects up to 50 mg/ Cubic Meter
How Do Dust Masks Protect You?
Ø If you don’t know how to use a respirator properly, you can get a false sense of protection.
Ø When used properly, dust masks prevent the inhalation of dust in the air and protect the lungs.
When you inhale, air is pulled through the dust mask and dust is captured on the outside of the mask.
Types of Dust Masks
Ø N95/R95/P95 masks filter out 95% of dust particles
Ø N99/R99/P99 masks filter out 99% of dust particles
Ø N100/R100/P100 masks filter out 99.7% of dust particles
Note: N99 or N100 masks are recommended for very fine dust or dangerous dusts such as asbestos or silica.
Approval:
Ø Dust masks come in variety of styles and brands.
Ø Not all dust masks provide adequate protection for workplace dust.
Ø Only approved dust masks can be used for protection against dust levels that exceed the PEL.
Limitations of Dust Masks
Ø Dust masks will leak if they don’t fit your face properly.
Ø Dust masks don’t filter out chemical vapors/ gases.
Ø Dust masks are not adequate for heavy amounts of dust/ levels more than 10 times the permissible exposure limit (PEL).
Ø Dust masks may not be suitable for highly toxic dusts.
Ø Dust masks will not provide adequate protection in the Oxygen deficiency areas.
Ø Beards are not allowed when wearing a dust mask.
Ø If you have lung or heart disease, check with your doctor/ EHS department before using a dust mask.
Replacing Dust Masks
Ø Dust masks cannot be cleaned or repaired if soiled or damaged.
Ø Dispose the disposable dust masks at the end of the day or Shift.
Ø Replace non-disposable dust masks if breathing becomes difficult, if they are damaged, or if they are dirty or dusty on the inside.

Ø If you begin to smell odors or notice tastes in your mouth while wearing the dust mask, replace the mask.

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