protection against respirable dust

The human respiratory system is the classification of organs responsible for the respiration process of the body, which is why protecting it from ingress of foreign dust particles is important. This can be said especially for those working in sites that make them vulnerable to inhaling respirable dust. These include construction workers, miners and workers in facilities that process minerals.

What is respirable dust?

Respirable dust are foreign airborne particles that enter the human respiratory system upon inhalation through the nose and mouth. The size of respirable dust particles can be up to 100 microns, and inhaling them can result to them getting into various points in the respiratory tract, which can have negative effects.

There are many examples of respirable dust, but the most common of them include inorganic dust such as asbestos, barium, beryllium, coal, iron, silica, tin, and wood dust. Organic dust particles like bird droppings and feathers, mould dust, compose dust and pet dander are also considered respirable dust.

To prevent ingress of these particles, the body employs several defence mechanisms, such as nasal hair catching and filtering the air inhaled through the noise, and mucous membranes catching dust before they enter further into the respiratory system.

When inhaled, however, respirable dust can cause various short-term and long-term negative health effects. Depending on the type inhaled, respirable dust can cause asbestosis, baritosis, hard metal disease and silicosis, to name a few. These can render a worker unable to work and may even lead to fatality.

Workers who are at a higher risk of being exposed to respirable dust are those who work in mines where crystalline silica are abundant, in construction and demolition sites where wood dust and silica are common, and in facilities that process minerals such as potteries and cement and tile factories. Protecting workers against respirable dust in these environments is essential to minimise health hazards and ensure that they remain able to work.

The best way to protect workers against inhaling dust particles is by providing them with respirator face masks. These types of masks can filter out all impurities in the air inhaled by a wearer as he breathes, not just respirable dust but also hazardous fumes and vapours. A typical respirator mask includes, in addition to the face piece, a filter or a cartridge, which is needed for filtering out impurities in the air.

Respirator face masks are inexpensive and can come in many forms. Some of the economically priced varieties are sold in one piece and are mostly disposable. There are also masks that have a tear resistant, durable main body and a slot for cartridges, allowing the filters to be replaced. The latter type can be used again and again and is ideal for applications that require prolonged use.

For all your respiratory protection needs for your workers, Hunter Industrial Supplies has what you need. We offer high-quality twin filter half masks, P2 cartridges, A1P2 cartridges and disposable dust masks to help you keep your workers safe and healthy during operations. Visit the Hunter Industrial Supplies website for more information, or read our other blogs posts for more tips on packaging and health and safety.