From harmful dusts to fumes, vapors, and toxic gases, respiratory hazards in the laboratory are real and can be serious. Laboratories that use, handle, or produce materials that may present respiratory hazards are required to comply with the Occpational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134). This standard is designed to protect employees from all the respiratory hazards you may face. In this training course, we will discuss this standard and what it means for people who work in laboratories. The main purpose of this session is to help trainees work safely when they face potential respiratory hazards. By the end of the session, lab employees will be able to:
- Identify and understand the respiratory hazards you may face;
- Know how to find information about these hazards;
- Identify the control measures used at your facility to protect against respiratory hazards; and
- Know how to protect yourself by using respiratory personal protective equipment (PPE).
Why “Respiratory Protection in the Laboratory” Matters:
There may be several types of respiratory hazards in the workplace:
- Particles are small pieces of matter that may or may not be visible, such as dusts.
- Mists can also irritate the respiratory system or cause other harmful effects. Some mists also gives off vapors that may be harmful if precautions are not taken.
- Fumes, such as those given off by a burning material, are a frequent source of respiratory irritation or more serious conditions.
- Gases may also be hazardous, or even deadly.
- Vapors may be the most common respiratory hazard in a laboratory due to the use of volatile chemicals. Vapors can cause irritation or more serious conditions.
The main points from this training course on Respiratory Protection in the Laboratory include:
- Respiratory hazards are real and can be serious.
- It’s essential to inform yourself about the hazards you face: Access and use all relevant information.
- In most cases, protective measures are required, not optional.
- Never cut corners: Follow safe work procedures and use the equipment that is designed to protect you from the hazards you face.