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Protecting your lungs is essential and the correct level of protection required should be identified. Testing how effectively a seal has been created on the face of the wearer is also important.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) –

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What is the contaminant?

You should select the correct filter for the application and contaminant (you may have to refer to the supplier of the material being used for this information). The class of filter being used in a respiratory protection product can be identified by a code.

Gas and Vapour (EN 14387 and EN 405) EN141

A – Organic vapours with boiling point greater than 65°C and good warning properties
B – Inorganic gases and vapours, e.g. Chlorine (not Carbon Monoxide)
E – Acid gases and vapours, e.g. Sulphur Dioxide, Hydrogen Chloride
K – Ammonia and organic ammonia derivatives
AX – Certain organic compounds with boiling points less than 65°C & good warning properties

Respiratory Protective Equipment
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What is the most suitable respirator?

Disposable – face mask for dust/mists/fumes and nuisance level gas/vapour
Half face – respirator with replaceable filters
Full face – respirator with replaceable filters and protection for the face / eyes
Powered – clean air to the headpiece by drawing air through a filter

What is the hazard level?

Do you need protection for eyes, hands, ears etc? See our protective equipment buying guides below:

Eyes Ears Hands

In summary, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should really only be used as a last resort. Wherever possible, it is important to control the hazards at source. Where this is not possible, select the correct level of protection. Here it’s important to bear in mind the hazard, the length of exposure and the working environment. Many of these have criteria laid down by the HSE. Please note, our guides are only an aid to selection; for full guidance on approved products we would advise that you consult the appropriate code of practice issued by the HSE.

Discover more…

Our ‘Top Tips’ on Workshop Safety Guidelines For Safer Woodworking is a great resource if you are looking for maintaining workshop safety and ensuring everyone taking part in their next project feels confident and safe. What’s more, our Meet The Maker- Matt Estlea is focused on the very talented Matt, who works part-time at Axminster’s Basingstoke store and is a prolific maker. Read our Knowledge piece to find out more about his career as a furniture maker.

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Marc EllisAxminster Customer ServiceJoe Farace Recent comment authors
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Joe Farace
Joe Farace

After a respirator that you can wear with glass, where I have a roman nose. Everything I have ever tried so far ( except a full mask powered, which I don’t like because of the weight) always leaks around either side of the nose, or pushes my glasses up so I can’t see through them properly. What would axminster recommend? I do lots of fine sanding of woods, both hand sanding and with various hand held and bench powered machines.

Axminster Customer Service

Good Morning Joe. Unfortunately respirators and glasses is always a tricky one. I would suggest that the Evolution Powered respirator would certainly be worth a try as it is lighter than other powered respirators, has a closer hat type fit rather than the traditional helmet type and the weight is well balanced. If you are near to one of our stores you would be able to try one on and see what you think. Unfortunately beyond that all I can suggest is our 3M half face respirators but it is difficult to know if they would be a suitable fit… Read more »

Marc Ellis
Marc Ellis

Use dust extraction for all sanding, this removes the problem dust at source and makes for more efficient sanding too.

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