The Importance of Respirators on the Jobsite

Respirators are important for keeping both workers safe on the job and for general safety. A respirator prevents the inhalation of harmful particles such as dust, silica and airborne pathogens that may be present on construction sites.

Why is a Respirator Needed? 

Respirators are necessary on jobsites where dangerous particles or chemicals are present. Respirators work by filtering particles from the air or by chemically purifying the air. On the construction site some harmful particles that need to be avoided are:

  • Silica dust
  • Chalk dust
  • Latex
  • Asbestos
  • Sawdust
  • Lead
  • Animal and insect dander
  • Dust and mold from the buildings themselves 
  • Toxic chemicals from industrial products, including paints and solvents or cleaning products
  • Pesticides

Breathing in respiratory hazards can cause lung impairment, cancer, disease or even death. Using a respirator that is worn over the mouth, nose and sometimes the full face can protect against the inhalation of these particles. 

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Written Respiratory Program

Employers on jobsites that have respiratory hazards must develop and implement a written respiratory program that complies with OSHA regulations. This program includes: 

  • Procedures for selecting respirators
  • Medical evaluations for employees needing respirators
  • Fit testing procedures
  • Procedures for proper use of respirators
  • Procedures for cleaning, disinfecting, storing, inspecting, repairing, discarding and maintaining respirators
  • Training of employees in the respiratory hazards to which they could be exposed
  • Training for employees on the proper use of respirators
  • Procedures to evaluate the effectiveness of the program

Choosing the Right Respirator

In order to choose the right respirator, a full workplace assessment should be done to determine which respiratory hazards are present. The type of respirator worn will be based on which hazards are present and the concentration of the hazard. There are different types of respirators including: 

  • Particulate respirators
  • Chemical cartridge respirators
  • Powered air purifying respirators
  • Self-controlled breathing apparatus

The most common type of respirator is a particulate respirator. Particulate respirators are inexpensive and simplest type of respirator. They can be half face or full face. Two common particulate respirators are the N-95 and N-100. 

Get Your Respirators from SSU 

Safety Supplies Unlimited provides respirators and other PPE to construction workers. Some of the respiratory protection in our inventory includes:

We carry many different respirators as well as filters and cartridges. Get your workers protected from respiratory hazards and shop our selection of respiratory protection