Respiratory Protection

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APPLICATION

An employer is required to demonstrate compliance to AS/NZS 1715 or any of the legislated Codes of Practice in terms of risk management. It is also an employer responsibility to ensure other means of hazard control have been investigated prior to introducing respiratory protection initiatives.

RISK ASSESSMENT

The AS/NZS 1715:2009 describes respiratory risk assessment along with a Respiratory Protection Programme and the appointment of a Programme Administrator where respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is required to be worn. Some of the risk assessment requirements are:

  • Ensure the workplace is not a confined space. This can only be determined by measurement of the risk atmosphere for safe oxygen levels throughout the working period.  Negative pressure respiratory protection cannot supplement oxygen.
  • Evaluate tasks to determine if RPE will compromise vision, communications or other PPE.
  • The employer must provide training in the cleaning, safe use and limitations of RPE at the commencement of employment.
  • The Programme Administrator must ensure a compliant fit test has been carried out for all users of RPE and maintain suitable records. The AS/NZS 1715:2009 describes both Qualitative and Quantitative fit test methods.

FILTER CLASSES & IDENTIFICATION

    PROTECTION LEVEL (Negative Pressure)*  
TYPE COLOUR APPLICATION HALF FACE FULL FACE WHEN TO CHANGE
PARTICLE FILTERS For levels up to:  
P1 White Mechanically generated particles 10 x WES N/A Particulate filters should be changed when unacceptable breathing resistance is experienced or in accordance with a locally specified change schedule.
P2 White Mechanically/Thermally generated particles 10 x WES 50 x WES
P3 White Toxic & Mechanically/Thermally generated particles 10 x WES 100 x WES
GAS & VAPOUR FILTERS Whichever level is lower of:  
A1 Brown Organic gases/vapours with boiling points > 65 degrees C 10 x WES or 1000ppm 50 x WES or 1000ppm Charcoal filters should be changed when breakthrough/smell/taste is detected or in accordance with a locally specified change shedule.
A2 Brown Organic gases/vapours with boiling points > 65 degrees C 10 x WES or 1000ppm 100 x WES or 5000ppm
AX Brown Organic gases/vapours with boiling points < 65 degrees C N/A 50 x WES or 5000ppm
B1 Grey Inorganic gases/vapours 10 x WES or 1000ppm 50 x WES or 1000ppm
E1 Yellow Acid Gases 10 x WES or 1000ppm 50 x WES or 1000ppm
K1 Green Ammonia & Ammonia Derivatives 10 x WES or 300ppm 300ppm Note: Ammonia has an IDLH value of 300ppm and filtering respirators should not be used above this concentration.

This guide is based on AS/NZ 1715:2009 with specific reference to tables 4.3, 4.4 and 4.5

WES = Workplace Exposure Standard - see Safework Australia website http://hcis.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/ExposureStandards
Additional filter types are available for specific chemicals.
Combination filters have the same limitations as for each component .
*Note: protection levels for PAPR and face/head top combinations may vary.

USEFUL REFERENCES

AS/NZS 1715:2009  Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment.
AS/NZS 1716:2012  Respiratory protective devices.

With SafetyQuip behind you, you can breathe easy when it comes to protecting your workforce. Find your closest SafetyQuip store at our Store Locator.

Safety Tips

  • Facial hair has the potential to compromise the face seal of respirators – being clean shaven is best!
  • Consider the impacts of other forms of PPE.
  • Keep RPE in optimum condition for best performance.
  • Store RPE in a clean/dry condition and away from harmful atmospheres.
  • Inspect RPE before use and check performance.
  • All workers should be trained in the correct use and maintenance of personal protective equipment.

SafetyQuip offers a full scope safety supply service for hearing protection including dust mask, dust masks, respirator masks, full face respirator, half mask respirator, disposable repirator, filters, PAPR hoods, power units, respirator kits, powered respirators and air supplied respirators.