Respiratory Safety Standards

Respiratory protective equipment (RPE) 

Work activities may result in harmful substances contaminating the air in the form of  dust, mist, gas or fume. 

For example:

• cutting a material such as stone, concrete or wood

• using a liquid containing volatile solvents

• handling a dusty powder

RPE is designed to protect the wearer from these hazards.

You will require RPE that is adequate and suitable to ensure the wearer is protected. 

This means:

To select RPE that will protect the wearer you will need a basic understanding of:

• the hazardous substance and the amount in the air (exposure);

• the form of the substance in the air (eg gas, particle, vapour);

• the type of work being carried out;

• any specific wearer requirements, such as other PPE or a need for spectacles.

Key statistics 

The following statistics illustrate the harmful effects of failure to use appropriate RPE in the workplace. Microlin Cooper have introduced a respiratory range to offer the highest level of protection in the workplace in order to prevent illnesses. 

A range of lung diseases can be caused by exposures in the workplace including diseases which are very serious – such as cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – which can often be fatal.

12,000 – Lung disease deaths each year estimated to be linked to past exposures at work

20,000 – Estimated annual new cases of self-reported breathing or lung problems caused or made worse by work

Work-related ill health is estimated to cost British business around £9.7 billion each year.

*Statistics and information taken