Canadian respirator legislation compliance made easy - ResourcesWritten by Sean Donovan 05 April 2012
Table of contents
Compliance made easy
Proper protection of respirator users is the overall goal of a respirator program. Most respirator manufacturers have tools designed to simplify the process of developing, administering and maintaining a respiratory protection program in a work environment.
Some examples are:
• Respirator Selection Guide
• Cartridge Life Expectancy Calculator
• Interactive Training Program
Respirator Selection Guide
The purpose of a Respirator Selection Guide is to offer a compilation of a broad range of respiratory protective products to help you to determine which respiratory solution best fits your specific requirements. Not only does the Respirator Selection Guide encompasses your various choices in respirator options, but it will offer guidance on choosing the correct cartridges and/or filters. The most important factor in determining the best respirator for your individual needs is to understand the environmental factors involved. This can be achieved through proper air sampling. Respirator and cartridge selection are determined by the following factors: the results of your air sampling program; the accepted NIOSH, ACGIH or other jurisdictionally recognized exposure limits for contaminants; and, the maximum use concentration of those substances.
Cartridge Life Expectancy Calculator
Caution must be used when checking filters and cartridges. Should they become clogged, it can increase the likelihood of contaminated air entering the mask. In addition, should cartridges become full or saturated, gases or vapors will leak through the cartridge. Both cartridges and filters must be replaced on a regular basis by using the manufacturer’s recommendations. An example of this is the Cartridge Life Expectancy Calculator.
The Cartridge Life Expectancy Calculator is an interactive means to help determine when a specific cartridge should be replaced, based on length of use and concentration.
The following information is needed to adequately utilize a Cartridge Life Expectancy Calculator:
• chemical hazard
• exposure and concentration
• relative humidity
• atmospheric pressure
• what type of respirator you are using
• type of work and average breathing rate
• breakthrough concentration preference
Interactive Training Program
Most respirator manufacturers now offer training programs in CD format and/or online through their websites. As part of an effective interactive training program, online courses are available to inform users about the respirator, how to wear it and how to maintain it. CSA Z94.4-11 mandates that if you issue respirator, you must train the person on the respirator. Online classes offer ease of use since it is available 24 hours a day, and end-users can be trained when it is convenient.
Users should also consider consulting manufacturers for recommendations or with any questions on specific products.
There are a number of notable resources available to help guide you. A few of the more widely recognized authorities on respiratory protection are profiled as follows:
In Canada, workers are covered by provincial or federal labour codes depending on the sector in which one works. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), an agency of the Government of Canada, is driven by the belief that all Canadians have a fundamental right to a healthy and safe working environment. CCOHS’s goal is to provide tools that are both useful and credible in an effort to improve workplace health and safety programs.
The Canadian Standards Association is the most widely accepted regulatory agency in Canada. CSA is an independent, not-for-profit membership association that encompasses standards development, training and advisory solutions, global testing and certification services, as well as consumer product evaluation services. Currently 40 per cent of all the standards issued by CSA are referenced in Canadian legislation.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the U.S. federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. NIOSH conducts scientific research, develops guidance and authoritative recommendations, disseminates information, and responds to requests for workplace health hazard evaluations. Where there is a danger of an airborne hazardous substance or an oxygen deficient atmosphere in a workplace, the employer shall provide a respiratory protective device that is listed in the NIOSH Certified Equipment List.
There are various avenues that can help you with the trials and tribulation of respiratory standard compliance. To stay current on the standards that pertain to your industry and specific work environment, it is always in your best interest to turn to your jurisdictional occupational safety and health websites first. Contacting the manufacturer of your equipment can also be of benefit.
Sean Donovan, senior product line manager for industrial products with MSA Canada, has been an integral part of MSA Head, Eye, Face and Hearing Regional Steering Team for North America. Donovan’s background and extensive industry experience has earned him a representative seat on a number of CSA committees, including CSA Z94.2 – Hearing Protection Devices.
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