One main concern with any respirator use is whether or not the devices are being worn properly.
In a work setting employers are required to provide training on best practices, use NIOSH approved devices, and be able to demonstrate a filtration efficiency of 95% or more. Not surprisingly, those rules do not apply when it comes to at home or public respirator use.
There are a few obstacles when it comes to public use of respirators. First, most people do not have access to formal training or the ability to go through fit testing or a medical evaluation. The general public is also not required to use a NIOSH approved respirator and can decide to use devices ranging from bandanas to counterfeit devices as a replacement for the NIOSH approved devices that are the standard for workplace use.
Studies have shown that without training, fit testing, or using a NIOSH-approved respirator, public respirator use is much less effective at protecting people than workplace use.
So, what steps can be made to make public respirator use more effective?
- use a NIOSH or FDA approved N95 FFR (check your equipment here)
- order from a reputable vendor
- if you have been fitted at work, use the same model at home
- follow all manufacturer instructions each time you use a device at home
- complete a seal check with each use (watch video)
- if you have a medical condition, speak with a physician before use
- Stay hydrated and take frequent breaks from the work you are performing
- Avoid contact with the contaminated surface of the respirator
- Dispose of your respirator properly so others do not come in contact with it
To read more about respirator protection for the public, read NIOSH’s full article here.
Posted by Stephanie Billing on February 23, 2018 in Blog.