RPE is widely used in NHS Trusts to protect staff from respiratory viruses but there are many other work activities that may result in harmful substances contaminating the air in the form of dust, mists, vapours, gases or fumes. RPE Audits can be arranged to ensure that the correct level of protection is provided that is:
It is right for the hazard and reduces exposure to the level required to protect the wearer’s health.
It is right for the wearer, task and environment, such that the wearer can work freely and
without additional risks due to the RPE.
There are two things to consider when selecting the correct RPE:
Firstly the type of respirator mask. Tight fitting facepieces rely on having a good seal with the wearer’s face, whilst loose-fitting facepieces rely on enough clean air being provided to the wearer to prevent contaminant leaking in.
Secondly, a key component of any respirator is the filter. Filters are available for solid or liquid particles, vapours and gases. They can be an intrinsic part of the device or come separately so they can be changed on a reusable respirator. It is vital that you choose the correct filter, which is effective against the hazard identified.