Occupational safety and health efforts are not only valuable in the workplace, but can be applied to non-occupational situations as well. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently posted an article that covers the use of respiratory protection in non-occupational settings.
One main concern with any respirator use is whether or not the devices are being worn properly.
In a work setting employers are required to provide training on best practices, use NIOSH approved devices, and be able to demonstrate a filtration efficiency of 95% or more. Not surprisingly, those rules do not apply when it comes to at-home or public respirator use.
There are a few obstacles when it comes to public use of respirators. First, most people do not have access to formal training or the ability to go through fit testing or a medical evaluation. The general public is also not required to use a NIOSH-approved respirator and can decide to use products ranging from bandanas to counterfeit devices as a replacement.
Studies have shown that without training, fit testing, or using a NIOSH-approved respirator, public respirator use is much less effective at protecting people than workplace use.
So, what steps can be made to make public respirator use more effective?
- Use a NIOSH or FDA approved N95 FFR (check your equipment here)
- order from a reputable vendor
- if you have been fitted at work, use the same model at home
- follow all manufacturer instructions each time you use a device at home
- complete a seal check with each use (watch video)
- if you have a medical condition, speak with a physician before use
- Stay hydrated and take frequent breaks from the work you are performing
- Avoid contact with the contaminated surface of the respirator
- Dispose of your respirator properly so others do not come in contact with it
To learn more about respirator protection for the public, click below to read NIOSH's full article
About the Author
Adam is the Digital Marketing Coordinator at e3 Diagnostics. His interest in hearing healthcare is driven by his passion for music because he feels everyone should be able to clearly listen to Pet Sounds at least once in their life. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games, digging through record stores for classic vinyl, shooting hoops, and writing stories.