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Your Lungs & Respiratory System

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Our lungs are very important to our lives. We can’t replace them. We can’t grow another lung, if we need one.

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When you first took your first air in when you were a baby it is very hard to stop breathing. That’s how important it is to wear a respirator. Our lungs need protection in all types of hazardous in the air. To know how to use a respirator and know what kind of respirator for every types of hazard is a very important training to have.

There are many tasks that may require the use of respiratory protection. One of the tasks is Maintenance Operation and it releases dust, mists, fumes, vapors, or gases. Manufacturing Operations is another task that releases materials not controlled that are transferring, mixing, reacting, or blending. Also when there is a turnaround or a cleanup they would have to take apart equipment or assemble equipment that may discharge vapors, gases, or aerosols to your work environment. An escape from or entry is a requiring emergency that has concentration air contaminants.

A respiratory protection program must include procedures and comply with OSHA respiratory protection standard. There is a procedure for choosing the right respirators in the workplace. Every employee that is required to use respirators need to have a medical evaluation and need to do fit testing. Another procedure is the proper use of a respirator and what to know for emergency situation.

Also to maintain the respirators for schedule cleaning, storing, repairing, inspecting, discarding, and disinfecting is a procedure to provide for the employees. This procedure is very important too, we need to know if there is enough sufficient air quality, quantity, and the flow of breathing air for atmosphere-supplying respirators.(Brosseau, Colton, Aldol 2) The possibility that something might happen during routine and emergency situations an employee needs training in the respiratory hazards. Employees need to be trained in proper use of respirators and that’s with putting on and removing the respirator.

The OSHA respiratory protection program has to be identifying the individual with all authority and responsibility in relate to respirators. Administrators need to be qualified by training or experienced in the use of respirators and they can be delegated to a lower supervisor. There are several specific responsibilities that are within the program. The Logistics or Supply are responsible for ordering respiratory protective equipment and parts.

The medical personnel are responsible for medical evaluation and giving the ok to for the individual to use the respirator. The Personnel Office or Human Resources are responsible for maintaining records.(4) The Supervisor and management have the responsibility to put into effect the workplace policies. Safety personnel, industrial hygiene, and technical have responsibility to inspect the worksite location if the there is a possibilities a hazardous condition may occur. And last but not least is the user. They have the responsibility to clean, inspect, maintain it, and properly wearing their respirator.

The purpose for medical monitoring is to ensure that the employees can complete the job safely, that would not cause any physiological problems, and physicaly fit to wear a respirator. An employee needs to perform their job safely with a respirator.

To select the right respiratory protection equipment is the type of hazard that you are involved. If you’re in an environment that the oxygen content is less than 19.5% then you would be using the oxygen monitoring equipment for oxygen deficiency. Air contaminants are materials that are raw materials, final products, waste handling or any other way that releases any contaminants to the air.

So find your good sources in material safety data sheets and industrial hygiene reference books to identify the air contaminants. Physical and chemicals properties are examples of gas, vapor, dust, fume, mist or combinations of air contaminants. For any contaminants are particle size and particle type have an affect of what type of filter or respirator selection. To determine the possible health effects may not only be the concern on protection of the respiratory system.

There is potential for eye irritation that you can use a full facepiece, hood, or helmet that provides safety for your eyes and respiratory protection. Skin irritation is another potential health effect and you can use suits and coveralls to protect skin and respiratory. Worker exposures present in areas in time-weighted average and peak exposures.

It can affect in different ways such as work shifts, climate, ventilation, work experience, work habits, work output, and many others relate to specific jobs or work location.(14) The occupational exposure limits have different ways to determine the exposure guidelines. They are the Permissible Exposure Limit, Threshold Limit Value, and Workplace Environmental Exposure Level to consider the mixtures of air contaminants.(14)

Air-purifying respirators are a chemical cartridge respirator and gas masks. They keep your breathing air from going unstable and containing toxic contaminants. An air-purifying respirator is either non-powered or powered respirator. A non powered is a negative pressure mode so users moves air by respiration into the breathing zone. A powered is a positive pressure mode so the air is moved by battery operated fan into the breathing zone.

Powered air-purifying respirators it works with battery-operated fan so the worker is not reliable on the inhalation to go through the air-purifying element. Before going to the face piece the fan pushes and pulls air through the air-purifying respirators. To remove types of gas or vapor contaminant it goes through a air-purifying elements.

Airline respirators are not for immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH) condition. Airline respirators are a demand airflow that is not recommended because it does not provide protection. Demand airflow is a negative because it allows pressure inside the mask when you inhale. Continuous flow is a positive pressure because the respiratory inlet is covered all the times. Pressure-demand class is normally a positive pressure and it’s a tight-fitting face piece only.

There are two different combination respirators: combination air-purifying and supplied-air (airline) respirators and combination self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and supplied-air respirator.(51) The combination of the supplied-air respirator plus air-purifying is used in a situation when it is necessary to disconnect the air hose and exit an emergency with the supplied-air respirator.

Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) is used when contaminant is an immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH) or insufficient oxygen. SCBA is a positive pressure to the face piece and provide the user the maximum respiratory protection. The SCBA has two types available for entry, open-circuit systems and closed-circuit systems. When you use the open-circuit it will inhale from the cylinder and the air exit to the atmosphere.

For the closed-circuit will not release the exhale to the atmosphere. The air that is breath out it will return to carbon dioxide scrubber then it will fill with oxygen and it goes back to the face piece and it will allow up to 4 hrs service time.(56) The user will need to do inspections to all the components of the apparatus.

The worker has an effect on performing the task when they are wearing the respirator, even though they have the right respirator protection. Respirators can make the task difficult when it interferes your vision, respiration, eating and drinking, scratching ones face, speaking and hearing, heat loss, and sneezing. When one of these activities interferes it can function poorly while wearing the respirator.(87) Vision is very important to perform any task while wearing a respirator; they need to see fine detail, color detection, and peripheral vision.

Communications also interferes while workers are speaking or listening. Hot and Cold can create problem such as, cold can cause fogging and the rubber can stiffen that it will not give you a good facial seal. Hot conditions can be very discomfort inside the face piece. Also it can create hyperthermia with all the heavy clothes and sweating can cause the exhalation valve sticking. Personal issues such as facial hair, blowing your nose, eating, drinking, rubbing eyes, and scratching ones face are one of the issues that the seal face is broken.

Respirator maintenance is a must. It is part of the respiratory protection program. It is like wearing a malfunctioning or poorly maintained respirator and it’s the same as not wearing a respirator at all. A respirator to be in good working order it needs, sanitary, and clean it would need a cleaning and disinfecting after each use. It is very important to do inspections while you use the respirator and while you clean it. If any defects are found during the inspection then a repair and adjustments can be made. The personnel that does the respirator maintenance must be trained and be aware the restriction.

Know every aspects of a respirator and manage the problem when a respirator is in use. Always have in mind that respirators should never be your first line of defense against exposure to airborne contaminants. Giving you a lot information of how to use a respirator and when or where to use the respirator will help you guide your way to any situations while using a respirator.

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