A full face respirator mask is used in an environment that is hazardous and can even damage the membrane of the eyes hence this mask covers eyes, ears, mouth, and nose to protect you in such damaging surroundings.
The full-face respirator masks need to fit you right, to protect you from such an environment, we are going to help you choose the right size of a full face respirator mask.
While using any respirator mask in a potentially risky area, you should leave the area immediately if;
It is not important to face the symptoms above when there is a leak as some chemicals may be odorless and tasteless and will not show any side effect till it has made some damages check twice for the right mask seal before entering such hazardous environment.
Full face respirators come in three sizes, small, medium and large. When we talk about different sizes, the size of the mask does not change, in fact, it is the same and the only size that changes is of the rubber seal that is mounted inside the product. The size of the rubber seal decides the size of the mask. Below we have described 3 sizes of the mask in detail;
The most common mask size is medium, and the majority users go for this size and small size is basically used by children. The difference between the respirator sizes can be identified by the different colors used for rubber seal in different sizes. People who need to use a large size can figure it out from the prescription of their old glasses, the size of the hats or helmets whose medium size does not fit their head. Performing a fit test is an absolute necessity in order to use the right mask in a hazardous environment.
Statistics reveal that 80% of users fit in medium respirator masks and it is possible that most people that fit in large masks can also fit in medium masks. The dimensions of a medium-sized full face respirator mask are as below;
Not many people need to use a large-sized full face mask (only 15% according to statistics) but there may be a few who might feel that the medium-sized mask is a bit tight and lean towards the large-sized mask. The dimensions of this mask are as below;
As we can see the size difference is just subtle hence a person who uses a large-sized mask can also most of the time fit in a medium-sized mask.
This mask is most probably used by children and statistics reveal that only 5% of people fit in this size of a respirator mask. The dimensions of this mask are as follows;
As we can see the dimensions of this mask is significantly small when compared to others hence most adults do not fit in this mask.
There are fit testing materials that you should use to do the appropriate fit test. This can be done by wearing a hood above the mask and spraying mist inside the hood. The person wearing the mask then will report if he or she can detect the sprayed mist. This helps in checking if the mask fits your right but be clear about the fact that this does not mean that the mask or filters will be as effective when used in a contaminated area.
Choosing the right cartridge or filter is also important to filter out the dangerous particles present in the contaminated environment hence they need to be audited and certified to be completely safe for the particular contamination so that it can protect an individual from any harm.
As per the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations, many work environments that are hazardous and can cause physical health issues to the workers need the use of such masks for the safety of the people working there. It is the responsibility of the employer to provide such safety equipment, but employees also need to be trained to deal with emergencies in such hazardous work environments.
Only a mask that fits you properly will not protect you in a hazardous environment as the mask may be completely airtight but the filters or cartridges that are used to filter out the harmful particles do not function right or is not right for the environment you have entered, then the particles will enter the air piece causing damages.
You need to evaluate the hazardous environment you are entering to find out the dangerous particles and fumes against which you need protection and check the filters or cartridges for its protection rating. When in doubt, choose a higher level of safety rather than lower as you just cannot take such risky chances.
Unofficial Fit Test:
The fit-test should be done properly as mentioned above but in situations where you need to do it quickly and there is no standard testing apparatus available then the following tests may be your only option but we highly do not recommend this technique and emphasis strongly that you do this only when you cannot wait for the real tests to be done. If the environment, you are entering is fatal then do not even think about using a half respirator mask without using the professional testing kit.
Step 1- Wear the respirator normally.
Step 2- Tighten the straps of the respirator to secure it in place.
Step 3- Place your hand over the filter holes to cover them completely. Do not press it in as it may damage the respirator.
Step 4- Now breath normally and you will find that you are unable to but if you are able to it means that there is a leak in the seal because the air is coming in from some other leak.
Hence using this mask in a harmful environment would mean that the air will not only enter the respirator from the filters but also from the air leak area and you will breathe the harmful air hence choose another mask immediately and repeat the test. If the mask does not leak, then you have the right fit.
Most of the above-discussed points are also applicable for any type of respirator mask and as per standard norms, stick to the professional fit test of the full face respirator mask before entering a hazardous environment so that the mask performs as it is intended to for your own safety and well-being.