Determining which type of respiratory protection is right

We get calls, almost on a daily basis, from customers wanting us to tell them what type of respirator they need. The call usually goes something like this:

National Safety Sales Rep (usually by the 2nd ring, never more than 3 rings, as that’s our promise): “Hello, National Safety, how may I help you?”

Customer: “Yes, I need help figuring out which respirator I need to wear”

National Safety Sales Rep: “Certainly. What are you trying to protect against?”

Customer names a chemical

National Safety Sales Rep: “Okay, what’s your concentration?”

Customer: “My what?”

National Safety Sales Rep: “Your concentration… how much of the chemical are you being exposed to?”

Customer: “I don’t know… not a whole lot!”

National Safety Sales Rep: “Okay, let’s come back to that question in a bit. How long are you exposed to it?”

Customer: “That depends, sometimes just a bit or time and sometimes a lot longer”

You get the idea. The point is that they often want a simple, quick answer to a complex and complicated question with a myriad for variables. Which type of respiratory protection you need depends on concentration, length of exposure, environmental issues and any number of other potential issues.

So rather than expecting your distributor to answer questions that they really can’t answer properly without all the information they’ll need, head instead to OSHA’s respiratory eTool online.

Answer a few basic questions (of course, you’ll need to have the answers… even OSHA isn’t going to recommend without the proper data), and it will let you know which type of respirator you need for your particular application.

Give it a shot, even if you are already pretty sure you’re using the right level of protection, can’t hurt to confirm and if you’re wrong it’s important to find that out!


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