Toolbox Talks: Respirators

By C.A. Lawton | August 17, 2022
toolbox talk respirators blog image

Toolbox Talks are an effective method of communication for employees at The C.A. Lawton Co. Each week, a handout is designed and posted by our compliance coordinator, Katherine Jungwirth. This handout is created to freshen everyone’s memory and remind them of various safety precautions. This week we’ll share some tips from our talk on respirators.

Respirators are necessary to protect you from workplace hazards like dust and respirable silica dust. The only way that they can protect you is if you know how to wear them correctly and wear them consistently. Of course, you must start with a clean-shaven face. Research tells us that the presence of facial hair under the sealing surface causes 20 to 1000 times more leakage compared to clean-shaven individuals (Stobbe TJ, daRoza RA, Watkins MA [1988]. Facial hair and respirator fit: a review of the literature. Am. Ind Hyg Assoc J. 49(4):199-204).

Please review the “Seven Steps to Correctly Wear a Respirator at Work” instructions from OSHA below. Remember only to wear the style/model of the respirator you wore when you were fit tested. If you have a non-disposable respirator, please inspect it and clean it regularly.

If you have facial hair, please remember that you must be clean-shaven where the respirator seals with your face. Use this illustration to help guide you on what is safe and what is not. Safe means you have a hair-free seal where the entire respirator contacts your face. Unsafe means there is facial hair between the respirator and your face. Therefore, you have the potential to be exposed to respirable dust and the health hazards related to lung function.