Does your respirator protect your lungs?

Image: Resources Safety & Health Queensland

Being exposed to dust is part of everyday life in mining – one needs to know how to protect their health if they don’t want to suffer from miners lung disease, emphysema, difficulty in breathing or cancer after years of work.

Respiratory protection equipment (RPE) plays an important role as the last line of defence from diesel particulate, coal dust, silica dust as well as dusts containing metals such as lead minerals.

To learn more about dust and miner’s health, please read https://www.rshq.qld.gov.au/miners-health-matters

Even after selecting the correct RPE, often it does not fit properly due to differences in facial shapes, beards and stubble, leading to an absence of protection for the mine employee.

Respirators such as half face, full face and P2 disposable masks must fit firmly on the miner’s face to ensure there is no leakage of dust inside the facial seal.

The best way is to have a respirator fit-test and measure if there is leakage.

Fit-testers need to be trained to be competent to conduct the testing correctly.

The testers you can be confident with are the RESP-FIT testers who have been examined and declared competent according to the Australian Standard 1715.

To learn more about RESP-FIT, an AIOH accreditation program, refer to the website https://respfit.org.au/.

If you need more information please email, email respfit@aioh.org.au.