Posted on: 21 September 2020

Protecting breathing in the construction industry

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of using protection to stop the virus from spreading, but in the construction industry, breathing can be affected by more than just coronavirus.

In this article, we are taking a look at how you can keep your team safe from the long-term and short-term effects of not using respiratory safety to protect from dust, fog, smoke, gases and other airborne particles that can cause damage.

Respirator safety and tips

A respirator is an effective piece of equipment when it comes to protecting your team against respiratory damage. Take a look at some of the ways that your team can use respirators to keep themselves safe at work.

Only use certified respirators

Different respiratory equipment can be used for the different materials that can cause respiratory damage. Make sure that if you are buying respiratory equipment, that you are using the type that protects against the materials that you are working with the most.

Respirators are designed with a certain material in mind and can come as a single-use mask, half face piece or full face piece. They can also be air-purifying or atmosphere-supplying.

An example of an inadequate respirator would be if you used a respirator designed for dust particles to protect from gases, vapours or smoke. These particles could simply pass through a respirator designed to keep out larger particles.

Respirator inspections

Every time a member of the team uses a respirator, it should be thoroughly checked for use.

If your equipment has a crack, puncture, tear, leakage or other signs of deterioration, it should be replaced immediately and disposed of in a way that it couldn’t be accidentally used again in the future.

The seal of a face piece should also be inspected before every use, as this seal can often be the part that keeps wearers safe.

Ensuring a proper fit

Facial hair, headbands, glasses and other facial accessories could interfere with the face seal on a face covering, making it unsafe for use.

Remove facial accessories, including facial hair if necessary to ensure that the face-covering is safe for use.

Manufacturer instructions

Encourage all members of your team to read and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer on how to use the equipment.

All maintenance, use, cleaning, care and warning instructions should be read thoroughly by each user before use.

Cartridge use

If the equipment that you use needs a cartridge, such as an oxygen tank or dust collection tanks, users should know how to use them properly.

Not only should your team know how to use safety equipment, but they should also know how to spot defects and expiry dates.

Respirators and their cartridges should only be used by one person unless thoroughly cleaned between each user. A thorough cleaning should continue post COVID-19.

Staff training

Regularly check that your team are still using respirators correctly with frequent checks.

If there are any gaps in knowledge, provide training for your team so that they can continue to work safety using breathing apparatus.

Contractor insurance with Premierline

At Premierline, we are passionate about helping you protect the business that you have built. This is why we offer a bespoke service to assess your business’ needs to make sure that you are covered should the worst happen.

Our business advisors will work with some of the UK’s most well-known insurance providers to find a quote that provides the cover that your business needs. Get in touch to speak with one of our trained insurance experts to discuss your commercial and industrial insurance requirements.

Source – Zywave inc - Construction Safety Matters: Respiratory Protection and Safety

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