Respiratory Protective Equipment Training (RPE)


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Respiratory Protective Equipment Training (RPE)

Respiratory Protective Equipment Training (RPE) is required where RPE is provided. There is a requirement for it to be suitable for the wearer, environment and task and for those wearing it to be suitably trained in its safe use.

By law (COSHH, CAR, CLAW, IRR, CSR etc.)  anybody who wears RPE must be trained to do so even if it is only a disposable respirator and the responsibility for this falls on the Employer.

Over our many years of experience with face fit testing we have realised that most people do not even know how to even fit a mask correctly never mind carry out simple maintenance checks and while it is not our job to train your staff we will happily do so as part of our face fit testing service. Respiratory Protective Equipment Training is included in our face fit testing.

Maintenance is a requirement for all RPE, except for disposable (single use) RPE, and should be carried out by properly trained personnel. Thorough maintenance, examination and tests should be carried out at least once a month. Source: HSG53

On a recent site visit we had a complaint from the staff that the expensive powered respirators that the company had provided last year were completely useless as all they did was blow wood dust into the users face. The simple fact is that the filters had not been fitted to the masks!! Training, reading the instructions and monthly maintenance checks by a competent person would have quickly rectified this.

The customer had invested thousands of pounds and had tried to do the right thing but it fell horribly short meaning that they have exposed some members of staff to dangerous levels of soft and hard wood dusts not to mention the waste of money.

It is important that we understand the way our RPE functions if we are to maintain it effectively, reference to the manufacturers instructions for care of the product should not be over looked as although our RPE shares similar features there are many variations available to us and complacency may lead to potentially harmful levels being inhaled.

Not only does RPE have to be suitable for the wearer (it’s comfortable, it fits), the environment, the task it also has to be adequate.

Adequate:

RPE is considered adequate if it can provide a level of protection required to reduce the exposure to comply with the law.

Suitable:

RPE is considered suitable if it is adequate and is matched to the wearer, the task and the working environment, such that the wearer can work with minimum impediment and without additional risks due to the protective equipment.

Anybody selecting, using or maintaining RPE should be competent. You should be able to demonstrate this by reference to records of appropriate training. Source: HSG53

It is not simply a case of lets buy a mask, make them wear it, fit test it and then forget about it, there is so much more that has to be considered when providing and using RPE we have to get it right.

Our Respiratory Protective Equipment training course is aimed at supervisors, managers and operatives and by making the right decisions you will then make the right choices which will lead to better worker protection and potential cost saving too.

Dave Wood
[email protected]
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