Many industrial workplace areas require respiratory protection for the health and safety of employees. To educate employers on potential airborne hazards and workplace conditions that require the use of respirators, OSHA has several guidelines in place. These instructions detail which conditions require the use of respirators and what equipment is appropriate for use. To help you comply with OSHA standards, MC Tool & Safety, Inc. has put together this overview of where you need respirators in the workplace.


1. IDLH Atmospheres

Immediately dangerous to life or health, or IDLH, atmospheres always require the use of a full facepiece respirator. These areas include any location where there is exposure to harmful gases such as nitrogen, helium, carbon dioxide, argon, smoke and even steam. IDLH areas are likely to cause death or serious adverse health effects if persons remain in the area without the use of a respirator. Such respirators must be certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to ensure they provide safe air supply for users.


2. Construction Sites

Construction sites present many respiratory hazards that are avoidable with the use of respirators. Airborne particles such as dust, sawdust, fumes, and gases can irritate the throat and nasal passageways. If left unchecked, they can even lead to long-term health issues. While not all construction sites require the use of a respirator, it is in the interest of worker safety to consider this type of industrial safety equipment. Even a simple dust mask can protect against low levels of various harmful airborne particles.


3. Chemical Storage and Use Areas

Chemical storage locations or work areas that require the use of chemicals necessitate respirator use. Fumes and vapors from such chemicals can cause long-term respiratory damage and neurological impairment, among other symptoms. These types of worksites generally require full facepiece respirators to protect against inhalation of dangerous fumes. Even maintenance personal using abrasive or toxic chemicals for cleaning may need to wear respirators while working.


4. Surface Preparation and Preservation Sites

Any site that requires the use of paint can generate toxic fumes and vapors that may cause long-term health issues for employees. This includes vehicle painting, interior painting, and even exterior painting when it involves toxic solvents. Spray painting is especially dangerous as it typically involves highly toxic substances combined with forceful air expulsion. Per OSHA regulations, sufficient ventilation is also necessary in areas where employees must use highly volatile, flammable, or toxic solvents.


Your Industrial Safety Equipment Supplier in Minnesota

When you need to protect your employees, MC Tool & Safety has the products you need. We offer a wide range of industrial supplies designed to comply with OSHA regulations and keep your worksite safe. To learn more about our products, contact us at 888-206-2569, or you can message us at