Respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
Work activities may result in harmful substances contaminating the air in the form of dust, mist, gas or fume.
• 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.
- Adequate – It is right for the hazard and reduces exposure to the level required to protect the wearer’s health.
- Suitable – It is right for the wearer, task and environment, such that the wearer can work freely and without additional risks due to the RPE.
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.
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 https://www.hse.gov.uk