Taking Another Look at Powered Air Purifying Respirators-April 2009

Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety 

April 2009

IN THIS ISSUE: Taking Another Look at Powered Air Purifying Respirators

Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) use positive pressure to blow filtered air across the face.  PAPRs use a hood instead of a face piece and are powered by a battery pack.  After a series of design improvements, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration upgraded the Assigned Protection Factor (APF) for PAPRs from 50 to 1000, while non powered, air purifying respirators kept their APFs of 50 or less.  

“This rating indicates that PAPRs are approximately 20 times more effective than they were in the past,” explains Gary R. Ticker, CIH, CSP.  “Now PAPRs are an effective choice when non-powered air purifying respirators are insufficient, and airline respirators are too cumbersome and expensive.”

Understanding the Assigned Protection Factor (APF) helps in selecting the right respirator.  The APF rates the effectiveness of a respirator and is used to estimate an employee’s actual exposure to a contaminant.

Actual Exposure = Measured Exposure / Assigned Protection Factor

“I encourage employers to give PAPRs a second look,” explains Ticker, “These respirators are small yet effective, and they may be exactly what your employees need to avoid dangerous exposure.”

Please note that the use of any type of respirator does not in itself protect an employee from exposure.  All requirements for respiratory protection and other applicable standards apply.

For more information on this topic and to discuss your company’s safety and industrial hygiene needs call OccuSafe at (214) 662-6005 or visit us at www.occusafeinc.com.

OccuSafe Environmental and Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health.   OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.

This newsletter is published monthly by OccuSafe Environmental and Safety Services, Inc.   Feel free to forward it to friends and colleagues.

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