The importance of respiratory protection

There is no question about the importance of the human respiratory system. Our bodies need oxygen constantly which means clean air is of utmost importance. This is why it is important to protect your worker’s respiratory systems when it is required depending on the type of work environment.


There are two main types of respiratory protection when it comes to PPE – incidentally the short reference to respiratory protection is RPE which stands for Respiratory Protective Equipment


The two main types are a respirator (filtering device) and breathing apparatus (BA). A respirator uses filters to remove contaminants in the air. There are two main types of respirators namely non-powered respirators which relies on the wearer’s breathing to draw air through the filter, and also powered respirators which use a motor to pass air through the filter to provide clean air to the wearer.


These respirators and breathing apparatus are available in different styles which is divided into two main categories namely tight-fitting face pieces, also often referred to as masks, and loose-fitting face pieces.


The tight-fitting type rely on having a good seal with the wearer’s face. It is available as non-powered and powered respirators as well as breathing apparatus. Filtering face pieces, half and full-face masks are all examples of tight-fitting face pieces.


Loose-fitting face pieces rely on enough clean air being available to the wearer to prevent contaminant leaking in – these are only available as powered respirators or breathing apparatus.


It is important to remember that only breathing apparatus (BA) is suitable for use in atmospheres which are oxygen deficient.

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