Respiratory Protection

Respiratory protection equipment (RPE) falls under the larger umbrella of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is required in workplaces. RPE is particularly required in workspaces or external environments where harmful substances may contaminate the air in the form of dust or particulates, gas, liquid/vapour or fumes. Protection can be essential to improve and ensure the safety of workers and RPE can play a key part in improving the level of safety in a situation or environment. RPE can come in a variety of forms, from simple face coverings such as surgical masks, dust masks, disposable masks and FFP2 masks, but can also include more technological apparatus such as full face respirators and powered respirators.

At RS Components, we have curated our range of respiratory protection equipment to bring you the best options from industry leading brands, including 3M, JSP, Uvex, Pince Mi and our own brand for professionals, RS PRO.

Examples of Respiratory Protection

RPE can come in two main forms: either as a non-powered, air-filtering device (respirator), such as a disposable mask or a filtered respirator mask, or as a powered, air-supplying or air-purifying breathing apparatus.

  • Filtering Devices - Particulate respirators can filter out contaminants from the air and prevent them from being inhaled by the user. These often come in the form of a face mask with a removable filter and can vary in size and technology, from disposable surgical masks to full-face masks. Respirators can be either half-face (covering the nose, mouth and lower face) or full-face, depending on the level of protection required and whether an eye protection factor is necessary.
  • Breathing Apparatus - Supplied-air respirators require a supply of breathing air, which is typically sourced from an air cylinder for example. These are designed to ensure the worker gets a consistent, steady supply of clean air in a potentially contaminated environment.

When to wear respiratory protection?

A respiratory protection programme can be required in the workspace if the safety of workers is compromised by respiratory hazards. Applications where respiratory protective equipment (RPE) may be used include: healthcare, manufacturing, chemical and laboratory work and confined spaces where oxygen levels are low. They can also be used in demolition works, especially when dealing with old buildings that may contain asbestos or other potentially harmful materials that could become particulates in the air.

Face fit testing must be carried out prior to the use of RPE to ensure that the chosen protective equipment fits the wearer properly and is correct for both the wearer and the environment. The equipment must form a seal to prevent harmful vapours, gases and particulates from entering the mask.