Most people are familiar with the concept of a surgical mask, but there are a number of different types of masks that may be required in your workplace. An employer must select the best type and size of mask for every worker based on the type of hazard present and any personal factors such as facial hair or headgear that affect fit.
Medical masks are worn by healthcare providers, as well as other people who work in environments where there is a risk of exposure to infectious diseases. They were originally designed to protect against tuberculosis and other airborne diseases, but now they’re used for more general protection against viruses and bacteria.
The materials used to make medical masks or n95 mask have been selected based on their ease of cleaning and disinfecting; this means that you should always use disposable medical masks rather than washable ones.
Filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs)
Filtering facepiece respirators, or FFRs for short, are the most common type of respirator and are widely used in a variety of applications all over the world. They are designed to protect against particulate matter by filtering out dusts, fumes and other contaminants from the air. FFRs do not protect against gases or vapors because they do not have a chemical filter that could be used for these purposes.
To ensure proper fit when using an FFR, you must perform a fit test before wearing it on your face. You should also follow all instructions regarding storage and maintenance of this type of respirator if you want to maximize its effectiveness. Finally, since FFRs cannot be used for long periods without recertification testing, it is important that users replace their masks every 12 months at most.
Elastomeric respirators are not as effective as FFRs, but they are less expensive. Elastomeric respirators are made of flexible materials that stretch slightly to fit over your nose and mouth. The material acts like a second skin when you wear it, so it doesn’t cover all of your face like a mask would.
Elastomeric respirators can only be used for protection against non-oil-based particles such as dust or pollen, not gases or vapors (like chlorine). They’re also not effective in environments where there’s a lot of moisture because the moisture will make the elastomer more pliable and more likely to leak into your eyes, nose, or mouth.
See a list of different types of masks.
- FFRs (or just “filtering facepiece respirators”) are similar to medical masks but with a few key differences: they’re one-size-fits-all, their straps go over both ears instead of just under one ear, and they filter out more debris than most medical masks do.
- If you want protection against non-viral particles as well as larger pieces of dust or dirt—and if you don’t mind taking care not to breathe through your mouth while wearing it—an FFR can offer great protection overall!
- Elastomeric respirators are similar to half face gas masks; however, elastomeric respirators don’t cover any part of the eyes. These types of masks are meant only for situations where there isn’t any danger from chemical exposure; if chemicals are present in high concentrations, then it’s best not even try using an elastomeric mask since its design won’t provide adequate protection against those kinds of threats.
The types of masks listed above are just some of the many available on the market. There are many different types of masks and respirators, so it’s important to do your research before deciding which one is right for you.