The selection of respiratory equipment follows a basic four-step method:


1. Identify the Hazard(s), there may be more than one! –

  • Particulate; such as dust, metal fume, biological agent (virus/bacteria) etc.
  • Gas / Vapour; such as CO, solvent, acid vapour, etc
  • Lack of Oxygen; may be due to other gas presence, especially inert such as Nitrogen
  • Extreme of Temperature

2. Assess the Risk –

  • Assess the hazard level against national safety standards. What level of risk does the hazard present?
  • Identify the workplace exposure limit (WEL) for the hazard; check safety data sheets or in the UK refer to EH40.
  • Compare the WEL to the amount present in the workplace – the exposure level. You will then know what level of protection is required – “Protection Factor”
  • Consider the need for other protection – e.g. eyes, skin and body.

3. Select the right Respirator type –

  • Choose from filtering devices or air supplied air devices then consider disposable, reusable, half mask, full face, powered, supplied-air.
  • Ensure the chosen device offers adequate protection (Protection Factor) against the risk.
  • Ensure the chosen device is suited to the person using it and the working environment.

4. Train the users in Fitting and Use –

  • Ensure the user understands why and when to use the RPE.
  • Ensure the user can confirm its condition prior to use and that they know how to put it on correctly.
  • Ensure a maintenance programme is in place to optimise respiratory protection.

Fire Safe International have personnel ready waiting to assist you in any or all of the above steps. Call now for free advice and support!

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