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Respiratory Protective Equipment

Respiratory Protective Equipment

Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)

The correct selection and application of respiratory protective equipment is vital for protecting employees and meeting international safety standards.

There are many working environments in which effective RPE is necessary, including cutting wood or stone, using products containing volatile solvents or working in a dusty area. Workers may also require RPE when working in areas with low oxygen levels, or where they may become low - such as confined spaces, silos or tanks. 


The Range Of RPE Available from Protec Direct

Our wide range of respiratory protective equipment includes full face masks, helmets, filters and accessories to ensure all levels of respiratory protection are available and protection from airborne particles is provided.

  • Disposable Respirators – Our range of disposable RPE includes FFP1 respirators suitable for low level dust based mists, FFP2 respirators suitable for moderate level dust/oil based mists and FFP3 respirators used typically for high level dust/oil based mists.
  • Half masks and full face masks – The range of half masks and full face masks provide an exceptionally reliable level of protection with full face masks providing eye protection in addition to respiratory protection.
  • Respiratory Helmets – Protec Direct provide a wide range of respiratory helmets, hoods, head-covers and much more.
  • Respiratory filters – With respiratory filters from leading brands such as 3MScottMoldex and Elipse the range available from Protec Direct will ensure your respiratory protective equipment provides the highest level of protection against dust/oil particles.


Respiratory Protective Equipment and The Law

The laws surrounding the use of RPE state that a full risk assessment should be carried out prior to equipment being specified and that companies with fewer than five employees are not legally required to record their risk assessment.

The law states that RPE should be used when:

  • An inhalation exposure risk remains after other reasonable controls have been put in place
  • When putting in place other control measures
  • For emergency work or temporary failure of controls where other measures are unsuitable
  • When there is infrequent short-term exposure and other measures may be impractical

In addition, all RPE must be looked after properly and stored when not in use in order to maintain working order and product longevity.


How Do I Choose The Correct RPE?

The three key considerations to take into account when specifying any RPE are the wearer, the task in hand and the environment in which the equipment will be used. In addition, there are specific considerations to bear in mind with regards to what is required to protect the worker. These include:

  • The type of hazardous substance being dealt with, and the amount of it which is in the air
  • The nature of the work being carried out
  • The form of the hazardous substance being encountered, e.g. gas, vapour, particle
  • Any specific worker requirements that may be necessary, such as a need to wear spectacles.


The Hazards That Require Respiratory Protective Equipment

Once the COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) risk assessment has been carried out in order to identify the hazardous substances, the next two key areas to consider are the products used that are classed as hazardous substances and the work activities that may generate harmful substances, such as cutting or heating materials.

When deciding on the protection factor required, it is vital to ensure that the RPE selected can adequately protect the worker from the hazardous substance in the air around them, and this decision will be based upon the amount of substance that is present in the immediate atmosphere.


European Standards and Regulations For Respiratory Protective Equipment

  • Personal Protective Equipment Regulations (2002)
  • Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (1992)