3 key ways to optimise your respiratory protection programme
3 Key Ways to Optimise your Respiratory Protection Programme
As businesses strive to provide a safe and healthy environment for their employees, respiratory protection programmes (RPP) have become a critical component of occupational safety. These programmes aim to safeguard workers from airborne hazards, including dust, chemicals and infectious agents.
Respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is considered part of personal protective equipment (PPE) and is the lowest protection on the hierarchy of controls and if used/required, they must be supplied together with adequate information, training and instruction.
Below are 3 key ways to optimise your respiratory protection programme.
If you haven’t conducted a comprehensive hazard assessment, then you need to do one. Identifying all potential respiratory hazards in the workplace is the foundation of any effective respiratory protection programme.
Involve an Occupational Hygienist when doing your assessments as they can help identify the risks to workers and can conduct air sampling to provide an expert evaluation determining the concentration and duration of exposure and therefore recommend the most appropriate form of respiratory protection.
Undertake Proper Fit-testing
Even the best respirators can't protect workers if they don't fit properly or if employees don't know how to use them.
Implement a comprehensive fit test assessment to ensure that respirators seal properly to the wearer's face. Fit testing should be performed for all employees required to wear respirators. Fit testing methods may include qualitative, quantitative, or ambient aerosol testing, depending on the type of respirator used. If you would like to know more about the differences between qualitive and quantitative testing please take a read of this article here.
While anyone can conduct this testing, we highly recommend an Occupational Hygienist or someone who has been officially accredited as a fit-tester via associations such as Resp-Fit.
Provide thorough training for employees on how to use, maintain, and store respirators. Ensure that employees understand the limitations and capabilities of their respiratory protection equipment. Regular refresher training sessions can help reinforce this knowledge.
Encourage proper respirator use by promoting a culture of compliance with respiratory protection measures. Encourage employees to use their respirators consistently and correctly. Make it clear that respiratory protection is a shared responsibility between management and employees.
Maintain records of fit testing, training, inspection, and maintenance activities. These records are essential for tracking the effectiveness of your respiratory protection program and ensuring compliance with regulations.
A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU)/employer, is required under WHS/OHS law to provide a working environment that is safe and free of risk to health, so far as is reasonably practicable. Investing in correctly fitted respiratory protection is an investment in the health, safety, and well-being of your workforce, which ultimately benefits your business in the long run.
If you would like us to put you in touch with an Occupational Hygienist, please just let us know.