How Advances In Respiratory Protection Are Keeping Your Employees Safe In 2023
Working in hazardous environments inevitably means exposing personnel to an elevated level of risk, so it’s vital that effective mitigation measures are taken to safeguard their health and wellbeing and ensure that your business fully complies with health and safety laws. Significant advances in the design of and technology used in Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) are revolutionising the way that workers are protected from respirable hazards, with leading manufacturers, such as 3M, Drager, Moldex, Globus, GVS, and Cleanspace at the forefront of continuous research and development.In this article, we’ll explore the main advances that will help to protect your workforce when working in hazardous environments in 2023.
What Is Respiratory Protective Equipment?
Respiratory Protective Equipment refers to devices designed to protect the user from inhaling respirable hazards, including dust, fine sprays, fumes, and gases. RPE includes masks, respirators, and other equipment that creates a barrier between the user’s respiratory system and the surrounding environment, thus ensuring their safety in hazardous work conditions.
What Advances Are Being Made In RPE?
Ongoing research and development are resulting in important advances in RPE technology, to improve its effectiveness and comfort for users, including:
1. Filter Technology
New and advanced filters are being developed which have the capability to capture a wider range of airborne hazards. These filters provide enhanced protection against various hazardous substances.
2. Filter Media
Innovative filter media are being utilised in RPE which offer enhanced filtration efficiency and lower breathing resistance. This allows for improved airflow without compromising on the required level of protection. Filters may even have a longer life and will need changing less often.
3. Mask Comfort And Fit
Effective RPE fits snugly onto the user’s face to minimise as much as possible the possibility of the hazard leaking into the respired air, so manufacturers are investing in designing masks and respirators that conform better to the wearer's face and head shape. Also, new masks that enhance breathability and reduce the build-up of heat improve comfort, particularly for long periods. Many masks are now available in a wider range of sizes to accommodate all face shapes – a mask fit test ensures a good fit!
4. CommunicationsIn some environments, it’s crucial that personnel can communicate effectively with colleagues without removing their masks, which would expose them to danger. Masks and respirators are being developed with built-in microphones and speakers, enabling clear and seamless communication between workers without the need to remove the RPE.
The Importance Of Partnership
It's important to note that these advances are not limited to the products themselves. Service providers are also keeping pace with the latest innovations to offer comprehensive solutions to help businesses to safeguard their employees. At Fire Safe International, we maintain a close working relationship with all reputable RPE manufacturers, such as 3M, Drager, Moldex, Globus, and GVS and many others so we can offer a wide variety of approved products and services.
This ensures that our customers have access to the latest and most reliable RPE options and essential products, such as the 3M Face Fit testing kit, a qualitative fit test kit that is designed to safely and accurately fit any respirator that features particulate protection and the AccuFIT ambient particle counting fit test device which enables quantitative fit testing. By investing in this equipment, our customers can meet regulatory requirements and ensure that their staff are fully protected when working in hazardous environments.
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