A respirator may sound like a scary medical device, but in the construction safety equipment field, it’s anything but scary. In fact, countless construction specialty contractors and other construction employees use these devices day in and day out to protect themselves from long-term illnesses caused by harmful workplace fumes.
Therefore, many employers know, at least in the back of their minds, that proper fit of this type of construction safety equipment is important. However, they may not realize that, without periodic respirator fit testing, their respirators—the very things that are supposed to be keeping their employees safe and preventing OSHA violations—are actually doing the polar opposite.
MC Tool & Safety, an industrial and construction equipment supplier, clarifies below the exact harms that can come from improper respirator fit.
Improper Respirator Fit and Workplace Disease
Though OSHA regulations do not cite respiratory workplace-acquired disease as one of the “big four” construction worksite hazards, it isn’t something to be overlooked in any industry. All sorts of substances, from asbestos to allergens, can directly cause worker suffering when breathed in and thus land companies in legal hot water.
Just what can a properly fitting respirator protect you and your workers from?
● Mesothelioma. You’ve no doubt heard those daytime T.V. commercials inviting viewers to begin a class-action lawsuit if they or a loved one suffer from this type of cancer. It is linked to exposure to the chemical asbestos, which adequately fitted and non-defective respirators can protect from. A defective respirator, asbestos exposure, and consequential Mesothelioma can spell financial disaster for a negligent company.
● Construction asthma. Anything from flour dust to epoxy resin can aggravate or even cause asthma symptoms, an affliction known as construction asthma. If workers can prove their asthma was a direct result of exposure to airborne irritants (which proper respirator fit protects them from), they can require significant financial compensation.
● Employment loss. Workers who have developed occupation-related diseases are often advised to minimize their exposure to any respiratory irritants. If these employees do not trust that you, as their employer, can provide them with a safe place to do their jobs, they just may choose to find work elsewhere.
Need Respirator Fit Testing? Contact MC Tool & Safety Today
Proactive respirator fit testing is one of the best ways to ensure worker safety and retain employees. Call MC Tool & Safety today at 1-800-206-2569 today to get started.