Which RPE to Use?

13 January 2017

Stop Think Act
Protecting employees from airborne hazards is a challenge all employers face but, with around 12,000 deaths every year due to occupational respiratory disease, it is vital that control measures are in place.

Exposure to asbestos, silica and other harmful substances has been proven to be a killer, control measures must be put in place when working in areas with any airborne hazard.

It is accepted that it may not always be possible to remove or isolate hazards but, in these circumstances, controlling the hazard and suitable Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) should be used.

Employers are obliged to provide suitable RPE to anyone who could potentially be exposed to any airborne hazard.  It is recommended that a minimum of FFP3 should be worn when dealing with silica, anything less than this would not be deemed as suitable protection.  In some circumstances, a respirator may be required.  

Once a suitable level of protection has been deemed appropriate and sourced, employers also need to consider the fitting of the product, fitting is individual to the wearer and employers should pay particular attention to those with facial hair as an alternative RPE product may be required.