Everywhere respiratory protective masks and breathing apparatus are used, there remains ongoing challenges to the maintenance regime, for ensuring equipment is safe and operational.
During use, masks will become soiled with exposure to the surrounding environment. Typical soiling can include dirt, oils, grit, chemicals, and grease. In some cases, masks may be exposed to contamination which is dangerous at low levels which may need special processing depending on what the contaminant is - examples of this are asbestos fibres, radioactive particles, hazardous contagions, and harsh chemicals. Soiling which is visible is easier to clean but remember that not all soiling will be easily visible.
Methods for cleaning need to be optimised to minimise downtime.
It is also important to understand there are hazards from within. Masks are fitted to the face in proximity to the breathing zone. Exhaled moist warm air and sweat from the face can contaminate the mask from within. In addition to this being unhygienic, where a wearer is suffering from a contagious illness, even if it is simply a common cold, this infection can be passed on to others, unless proper disinfection occurs between uses (see Fig.1). Primarily this issue is seen where masks and equipment are pooled or communal. Consideration needs to be given to those who are involved in the maintenance of masks also as they are potentially exposed.
Find out more, DOWNLOAD THE WHITEPAPER!