Respiratory protection is one of the most violated standards of NIOSH (the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health), and many companies are failing to address this safety issue. Yet this is a very important aspect, because certain airborne particles can put the health of the employees at risk.
Bandannas or paper masks are definitely not enough and they do not offer protection against smoke and very small particles. Depending on the type of type of toxic substances the employees are dealing with, either a dust mask or a gas mask should be used.
Here are some useful tips for when using a dust mask:
- Choose a NIOSH Approved Mask
There are lots of masks out there and not all of them are that good. So always look for the “NIOSH approved” mention and for the level of protection offered. The most common types of masks are N95, N99 and N100. We wrote a complete article about the types of masks and which one to choose, and you can find it on our blog.
- Make Sure That It Perfectly Fits Your Face
A good mask will tightly fit on your face and will not allow for air and smoke to leak inside. Look at the dimensions of the mask and make sure that it’s a good fit for your face. Also, do not use adult masks for children. We have special masks made just for the young ones at this link.
- Read The Label
Any respectable mask should come with a complete user guide and instructions. From there you will be able to learn the particularities of that mask, when to use it and when not to use it, and also how to correctly wear it.
- Shave Your Beard
As much as you care about your looks and you want to be in fashion, a dust mask and a beard simply don’t go well together. A beard will stop the mask from sealing your face tightly, and will allow dust and airborne particles to get in your lungs. Even a small beard can be problematic, so you need to have a clean shave when wearing the mask.
- Change It Frequently
We already wrote an article about when to change your mask and when to reuse it. The main idea is that masks should be immediately changed when they get dirty, soiled, contaminated, broken, when they do not fit anymore or when they are worn for more than 8 hours straight.
Dust masks should also never be shared. So make sure to have multiple pieces available, or to ask for a new one from your employer whenever needed. Do not put your health at risk!
Follow these 5 simple steps in order to stay healthy and protected against dust, smoke and dangerous airborne particles.