Is an Integrated PPE Solution the Right Fit for Your Welding Needs?

Print

Have you thought about an integrated PPE solution? This option may help provide safety managers and welders with the confidence and comfort in knowing that as metalworking tasks change, you can remain protected without having to change your gear.

If you work in welding, transportation, shipbuilding, energy or other heavy manufacturing industries you know you are exposed to all types of dangerous hazards. But what you may not realize is that the permissible exposure limits (PEL) have decreased significantly for some welding fumes and other respiratory hazards that may be present in metalworking applications.

Here is a snapshot of how the limits have changed:

 

 

 

 

 

How do you decide what level of protection you need based on these hazards, such as hexavalent chromium and beryllium exposure?

What is an APF?

Assigned Protection Factor (APF) means the workplace level of respiratory protection that a respirator or class of respirators is expected to provide to employees when the employer implements a continuing, effective respiratory protection program as specified by 29 CFR 1910.134 (see our tech bulletin).

What is a MUC?

Maximum Use Concentration (MUC) means the maximum atmospheric concentration of a hazardous substance from which an employee can be expected to be protected when wearing a respirator, and is determined by the assigned protection factor of the respirator or class of respirators and the exposure limit of the hazardous substance. The MUC can be determined mathematically by multiplying the assigned protection factor specified for a respirator by the required OSHA permissible exposure limit, short-term exposure limit, or ceiling limit.

However, an air-purifying respirator may never be used above the Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health level, even if the MUC is higher. When no OSHA exposure limit is available for a hazardous substance, an employer must determine a MUC on the basis of relevant available information and informed professional judgment.

Have You Thought About an Integrated Solution?

You want a solution that helps you stay safe, has the needed APF from the right headgear and eliminates the need to use different types of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Have you thought about an integrated solution? This option may help provide safety managers and welders with the confidence and comfort in knowing that as metalworking tasks change, you can remain protected without having to change your gear. These integrated solutions may be more comfortable options and offer different types of PPE all in one. This includes welding helmets that have auto-darkening filters, head, eye, ear, and respiratory protection for the toughest jobs from foundry work to most types of welding applications.

Safety managers and workers may want to reevaluate PPE choices because of this increased need for protection as well as looking for an option where some facial hair is allowed.

You should also check to make sure your respiratory protection program is up to date and compliant. Our Center for Respiratory Protection has a wide variety of resources to help you, including tips on how to properly use your equipment.