MANY ACTIVITIES AT WORK, IN MANY PROFESSIONS MAY RESULT IN HARMFUL SUBSTANCES CONTAMINATING THE
AIR IN THE FORM OF DUST, MIST, GAS OR FUME.
SOME PROFESSIONS OBVIOUS,
SOME LESS SO.
Fit Testing is required for all disposable, half and full face ‘tight-fitting’ facepieces. If you, or your employees wear tight-fitting Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) facepieces in the workplace, even disposable then you will need to provide evidence of a fit test conducted by a competent person, for each individual, each different make, model and size of mask they use, consistently and diligently to comply with current legislation.
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For example involves activities such as those listed below it it likely you should be using RPE that has been fitted by a competent person ,
cutting a material such as stone, concrete or wood
using a liquid containing volatile solvents
handling a dusty powder, unknown rubble or waste
There may also be less obvious time RPE is needed. You could need RPE:
- While you are arranging to install other control measures
- Working in any building built or renovated before 2000
- for clearing up a spill
- for maintenance
- during temporary failure of a control measure at source, e.g. sudden failure of LEV
- for cleaning, e.g. low pressure washing of a dusty shed, garage or other industrial area
- for short periods whilst unavoidably near to a controlled area of risk.
- when assessment concluded RPE needed in addition to other control measures for safe working
Only use RPE as a last option for respiratory protection and justify its use in your risk assessment. Consider other control measures before deciding to use RPE. In order of priority these are:
eliminate the substance, or substitute a safer substance
use a safer form of the substance, e.g. paste instead of powder
enclose the task to prevent the substance escaping into the workspace air
modify the process so less substance is given off, e.g. suppress dust with water
extract emissions, e.g. with Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV)
minimise the number of workers exposed, and minimise the length of time they are exposed.
All RPE like all PPE used at work must be CE marked to confirm it has been designed to meet at least the minimum requirements laid out in law. However, employers are responsible for selecting the right RPE for their task, substance, work environment and the wearer.
The Health and Safety Executive regard the BSIF as the primary route for information regarding the procurement of PPE. Buying from a BSIF registered supplier is the only recognised way y ou can be sure you will only be supplied with genuine, appropriately approved product and that you'll receive sound advice without any attempt to mislead you.