Check out this snippet from our new Delaware approved course-Respiratory Protection:
“Workers who need personal protective equipment are often very good at wearing types such as gloves, hard hats, hearing protection, etc, but can neglect respiratory protection. This is because while other hazards such as dropping a cement block on your foot or slicing your hand open are immediately noticeable in their damage, the damage done to your lungs from inhaling hazardous chemicals on a repeated, consistent basis is not immediately obvious. This type of hazard is known as a chronic safety hazard, which occurs over time, usually 20 to 30 years, before it becomes apparent. OSHA has its own standard dedicated to respiratory protection because this is such a large hazard to the health of workers.
There are three parts to the respiratory standard:
- being trained on the respirator you are wearing on the job site
- being approved to wear a respirator
- must be fit tested
While the intention is good when employers hand out respirators to employees for job safety, it doesn't do much good if the employees are not trained on their proper use and care. Knowing how to wear the respirator correctly and keeping it in working order is critical.
Not everyone can wear a respirator. An MEQ, or medical questionnaire, must be filled out once a year and submitted to a doctor or a medical professional who can approve you to wear the respirator. This approval must be on file and filled out on work time. Since it contains your personal medical information, it must also be in a sealed file so your employer does not see what it contains. Most of the time workers can be approved to wear a respirator simply by filling out the MEQ, but sometimes the doctor will want to see them in person. If this is necessary, the worker will take a pulmonary test, which measures how well their lungs can handle the strain of wearing a respirator.
Fit testing is extremely important and must be performed once a year for each specific mask that you wear. Fit testing is different from a fit check, which is done every time you put your respirator on. When you have your respirator fit tested, you are making sure it is properly fitted to your face so you don't have a false sense of security when around respiratory hazards. A mask that is too loose or too tight will cause gaps to interrupt the seal, allowing those hazards to bypass the mask and defeating the purpose of wearing a respirator. There are two types of fit tests performed: quantitative and qualitative. The quantitative fit test measures the challenge agent outside the mask, and how much of the challenge agent is inside the mask. The qualitative measures the quality of challenge agent outside the mask, and is more common than the quantitative. Banana oil, Bitrex, or stannic chloride are all examples of challenge agents used in a qualitative fit test.
Fit tests should also be performed if there are significant changes to the shape of your face through things like gastric bypass surgery, scarring, or the removal of teeth.”
The sample text above is part of our brand-new two-part course on respirator safety, which is presented in full HD Video and is available 24/7 from the convenience of your computer or mobile device. Applicators with category 1C, 03, 04, and 7C endorsements can earn 1 credit with this course toward their continuing education requirements.
Click here to visit our Delaware Pesticide Applicator page and get your CE credits today!