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Full Facepiece Respirators

A Guide to Full-Facepiece Respirators With Air Supply Hose

Organizational efficiency depends on the well-being of employees. Therefore, if we want to achieve higher productivity, we must make workplace safety a fundamental part of our company culture.

General worksite industries expose employees to various forms of respiratory hazards, including gasses like ammonia, vapors like gasoline, and dust such as grain.

In 2020, employer-reported respiratory illnesses went up by nearly 4000 percent. This was driven by a lack of proper personal protective equipment.

Employers are responsible for the safety of employees. Therefore, we should provide adequate PPEs to minimize or prevent the risk of respiratory illnesses among workers. One of the essential PPE is the full facepiece respirator. Let’s understand what it is, the various types, and how it’s used.

What is a full facepiece respirator?

Full face respirators are air-purifying PPEs that cover and protect the entire face, including the eyes. They contain filters and cartridges that help filter out contaminants that could otherwise cause respiratory illnesses.

The filters and cartridges should be changed regularly to ensure adequate respiratory protection. Also, the filter cartridges vary depending on the type of contaminant they filter.

We determine the need for full facepiece respirators by the determinants our workers are exposed to while working.

Some full-facepiece respirators have an air supply hose that supplies clean air from an outside source. Additionally, a full facepiece reusable respirator is more common and efficient for occupational safety.

Generally, we use full facepiece respirators to prevent hazards, including;

  • Dust - like when adding dry agents to a mixture

  • Solvent vapors from paints, adhesives, spray coatings, and cleaning solvents

  • Chemical hazards when processing and using chemicals, including chlorine

  • Metal fumes from metal smelting, cutting, and welding

  • During the production of prescription drugs

  • Oxygen deficiency, especially in confined spaces

  • Infectious agents in healthcare settings like tuberculosis bacteria

Classes of respirators

We have two primary classes of respirators designed for specific use.

Powered air-purifying respirators

A powered air-purifying respirator safeguards and protects workers against contaminated air. It consists of a fan assembly and a headgear that actively filters sufficient amounts of contaminants before delivering clean air to the user’s face, nose, or mouth. We sometimes call them blower units, positive-pressure masks, or just blowers.

We can customize powered air-purifying respirators for different working environments. Also, this PPE gear is powered by a battery or any other power source. It may contain half or full face respirators.

Powered air-purifying respirators include;

Half mask (Elastomeric)

These are reusable air purifying devices with exchangeable filter elements (cartridge and filter). The filter elements can be selected based on the level of filtration needed. Half masks (elastomeric) are usually made of natural rubber or synthetic that allows for easy cleaning, disinfection, storage, and even reuse.

The material also allows for enhanced comfort. We can use them to protect ourselves against gasses, particles, and vapors.

However, elastomeric half masks require fit testing at least yearly because they should form a tight seal against our faces.

Benefits of elastomeric half masks
  • They have replaceable filter elements

  • They are reusable

  • Offers more respiratory protection compared to a typical N95 face mask

Downsides of elastomeric half masks
  • Storage between work shifts

  • They may interfere with communication

  • They require regular cleaning and disinfection

Full facepiece (elastomeric)

An elastomeric full facepiece is a type of powered respiratory made of natural rubber or synthetic material, just like the elastomeric half mask. The difference is that the full-face respirators cover the entire face of the user. The material allows the device to form a tight fit against the user’s face.

  • They are reusable

  • Contain replaceable cartridges and filters

  • They are more efficient than the half-mask respirators

Non-powered air-purifying respirators

A non-powered air-purifying respirator is a type of respirator that doesn't rely on any power source. It can be a half mask or a full facepiece.

The half-mask non-powered air-purifying respirator covers the face from the nose to the chin while the full facepiece forms a tight fit against the face. We can simply operate the respirator by breathing.

Additionally, the non-powered air-purifying respirator market size is expected to grow by a 4%+ CAGR between now and 2027.

The key growth drivers are growing safety and hygiene awareness, an increasing number of healthcare facilities and PPE suppliers, and the ever-increasing number of contagious diseases.

Key Takeaways

It’s time we protect our employees by providing adequate personal protective equipment like half masks and full-face respirators. This will shield them from various respiratory hazards, including dust, vapor, chemical hazards, and more. Full-face respirators provide respiratory protection in most industries.

We must also understand the various types and classes of respirators, including powered and non-powered air-purifying respirators.

Do you need to buy, rent or service technical safety products? Contact Premier Safety today.