Thursday, August 6, 2015

Selecting Respiratory Protection Against Bioaerosols

IRSST, an OSH research center in Canada, has introduced an online support tool that OSH professionals can use to select respiratory protection to guard against bioaerosols. The tool consists of a six-step approach that uses control banding, based on the hazard associated with bioaerosols and the exposure level of workers.
  • Step 1 focuses on the industry sector involved. 
  • Step 2 identifies the risk group of interest. 
  • Step 3 documents the air-quality control level in the target workplace. 
  • Step 4 documents the site's bioaerosol generation rate. 
  • Step 5 allows the user to establish the assigned protection factor (APF). 
  • Step 6 presents a table of the various respirators and the corresponding APFs. 
According to IRSST, this tool is designed to be used after a preliminary risk assessment has demonstrated the need for respiratory protection. The group also states that "the hierarchy of control methods (elimination at the source, technical and administrative measures, personal protective equipments) must be respected at all times."