If you work in an environment that exposes you to too much dust, airborne microorganism, gasses, vapors and fumes that are harmful, you may find that you are required to wear a respirator for your own protection.  Respirators are used by painters, builders, health workers, plumbers and more. If you are to select the very best respirator for yourself and your employees you need to begin by finding out what is available in the market today.

  1. Respirator types

There are two broad categories of respirators: Air-purifying respirators and atmosphere-supplying respirators.

  • Air-purifying Respirators

These are the kind that most trade professionals use.  Their work is to ensure that contaminants are filtered out of the air you are breathing.  They come in 3 types as follows:

  • Combination respirators. These serve two purposes filtering both fumes and particulates.  They are perfect for construction demolitions since both fumes and dust will likely be present.  These are combination and gas respirators that come with a chemical cartridge used to filter out toxic fumes.  These cartridges are actually color coded to indicate the types of vapors and gases that can be filtered using the respirator
  • Vapor and gas respirators. These are idea for worksites that have lots of vapor and gases in the air.  When a building is being painted this mask comes in handy.
  • Particulate respirator. This is an ideal mask for people who work in non-toxic conditions that have a lot of vapors, dirt and dust.
  • This is an ideal mask for people who work in non-toxic conditions that have a lot of vapors, dirt and dust.
  •   Wood workers and fiberglass insulators will find these very helpful. A good example is the N95 mask which filters our as much as 95% of all particulates that may be in the air.

You may also opt for a powered respirator that is designed to offer you a high level of protection for your airways and eyes too. These are combination respirators that work very well.

  • Atmosphere-Supplying Respirators

This respirator is ideal for people working in a place that has limited oxygen or none at all, or those who are working in a contaminated space.  Various occupations including road pavers, pipefitters, welders, emergency hazardous material responders, and plan workers are ideal for this respirator.

  1. Tight and Loose-fitting Respirators

Once you have selected the type of respirator that you need, you need to make sure that it fits right.  A tight fitting respirator is worn in areas where oxygen is lacking or where there is contamination by toxic substances.  In such instances it is said to be IDLH or Immediately Dangerous to Life of Health. These types of masks require fit testing. A loose-fitting respirator is worn in those areas are that not considered IDLH and do not require fit-testing.

  1. Respirator Seal and Size

In order for a respirator to fit properly and create that necessary seal around your face, the size must be right.  This is very important especially when dealing with tight-fitting respirators.  If you have a large crew of people working in hazardous conditions, you must offer a wide range of sizes to ensure that everyone can find a perfect fit.