What’s Wrong With This Picture?

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Photographs are a learning tool of how accidents can be prevented. Thank you to William Tomlin, our USF SafetyFlorida contributor for April.

Corresponding Standards:

OSHA regulation 1910.134 (h)(2)(I) states that “All respirators shall be stored to protect them from damage, contamination, dust, sunlight, extreme temperatures, excessive moisture, and damaging chemicals, and they shall be packed or stored to prevent deformation of the face piece and exhalation valve.”

OSHA regulation 1910.134 (h) (3)(ii) (A) and (B)  states that inspections should include  “  tightness of connections, and the condition of the various parts including, but not limited to, the face piece, head straps, valves, connecting tube, and cartridges, canisters or filters; and  [B] a check of elastomeric parts for pliability and signs of deterioration”.

The respirator in the above image should have been stored in some type of protective container after having been inspected, repaired and cleaned. The straps have lost their elasticity. 

The health hazard:

The employee assigned to use this respirator will not be able to achieve a good “fit” to the face due to the damaged head straps, and could mistakenly feel as though they are protected from the airborne hazards in their work area. Additionally, the mask is stored in an unsanitary area containing settled material that could now be deposited inside of the face mask, and potentially inhaled by the user.

The corrective action:

As part of an effective respiratory protection program, employees must be trained to properly inspect, clean and store any respirator assigned to them.  The employee must inspect the head straps, inhalation and exhalation valves, and the overall condition of the face piece for deformation, holes or cracks. The respirator can be store in a re-sealable bag or hard plastic container as long as it is stored in such a way as not to cause deformation of the face piece.

Additionally, OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.134 establishes required training requirements for all who are assigned to wear respiratory protection.

Click here for more information on respiratory protection.

USF SafetyFlorida’s Consultants are available to help employers recognize hazards in the workplace, assist employers in developing effective safety and health management programs, and much more. Contact us at 1-866-273-1105 or visit www.usfsafetyflorida.com.