This blog is about the importance of keeping your respirator clean and free of asbestos contamination.
It is vitally important that you isolate your filters upon completing asbestos work. The reason is once you have finished the fibres trapped in the filters will possibly find there way into your storage device or even into you face mask. I don’t need to tell you the consequences of that.
If you are not going to change your filter on a daily basis then you need to enclose the filters before stowing the respirator. You will also need to isolate the motor from the face mask to doubly ensure the mask is protected. Clean Space ultras come with isolating plugs. Scott and Sandstorm come with caps in which you just tape over the ends.
Follow the manufacturers recommendations for cleaning products, however you need to use an anti bacterial cleaner to ensure sweat and other materials are removed from the inside and outside of your respirator. Always clean the inside first followed by the outsides. Ensure you get into all the difficult to access areas. Also once a week do a strip down of parts and go over your mask. DO NOT DISMANTLE THE MASK LENS AND THE SILICONE/RUBBER SURROUND. This will void the test certificate issued by the manufacturer. This will lead to you requiring at least another fit test for the respirator.
Always store your respirators away dry. The best way is to leave them in the sun initially (helps to prevent moulds and other bacteria developing).
Although manufacturers state their masks are scratch proof you need to ensure you protect them as they will start to show marks and reduce vision. Steps to take:
- Vacuum around respirator prior to leaving the work space
- Wet down the respirator before removing or when in the first stage shower unit.
- Do not place mask face down on the ground.
- Do not wipe the lens with contaminated rags as you know what the fibres will do.
- Dont place on ground where the mask can be damaged by clumsy feet.
- Do treat like a life saving device
- Always check the exhalation valves and connections.
- Always check your mates respirator before he enters the enclosure
- Ensure filters are changed regularly
- Consider using pre filters if working in very dirty environments
- If the filter looks grey then change it.
- DO NOT SHARE RESPIRATORS.
- Ensure you fit test every 12 months or more often if facial features change such as scarring or weight loss etc.
- Ensure you shave daily.
- Use P3 positive air respirators when working in enclosed environments for long durations (more than 30 minutes) or when doing physical work.
- Use face fit P2 Half masks with P3 filters when doing short inspections of less than 30 minutes or working outside.
- Finally this is my personal opinion DONT WEAR PAPER P2 MASKS FOR DEALING WITH ASBESTOS.
if you need fit testing then contact us at our branches located in Christchurch, Levin and shortly Auckland.