The Ugly Truth About Respiratory Masks

20 Feb The Ugly Truth About Respiratory Masks

Scene Camera Operator: MCSN James R. Evans, USN

Scene Camera Operator: MCSN James R. Evans, USN

For safety reasons, a respiratory protective mask must be worn to protect a worker from harmful dust, gases, vapors, particulates of various sizes including silica, and aerosols.

Getting the worker to consistently wear a mask is difficult.

Respiratory protective masks are a common piece of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and should be worn whenever there is contamination danger in the air.  A variety of occupations utilize masks including the military and medical facilities.  Respirators interfere with the performance of work tasks and should be taken into consideration if a worker is slower performing those tasks because of a mask.

Because of the physical size and limits on productivity masks come with burdens to the worker including:

  • Problems with breathing and respiration
  • Mask and skin at the same temperature (Thermal equilibrium)
  • Distorted or limited vision
  • Interrupted communication both speaking and listening
  • Feelings of well-being
  • Claustrophobia
  • Problems with eating
  • Trouble sneezing
  • Interference with other equipment

Productivity is challenged because workers cannot perform as long or as hard while wearing a respirator.  If protective clothing is required along with the respirator, it makes the situation even worse.  Either more time is needed to complete the task, or additional workers must help to complete the task.

The wearer of the mask must be fitted properly, and even then, wearers have different tolerance levels to:

  • Resistance or pressure levels
  • Anxiety about having a mask on their face
  • Heat tolerance inside the respirator
    The Ugly Truth About Respiratory Masks

    The Ugly Truth About Respiratory Masks

No two workers are alike when it comes to a respirator mask.  When the air is dirty with known silica particles, a respiratory mask should be worn.  What if you could detect when the mask should be worn?

Instantaneous, real-time monitoring of the air allows the worker to wear a mask less.

The company bottom line increases because the worker is more productive and only wears a mask when necessary.

At Nanozen, we offer a solution.  You can determine the highest exposure processes and have the workers wear a mask during those times.

By having your work processes tested for airborne particles with a unit mounted to a worker, you determine when masks are needed.

This blog was written by Linda Rawson, who is the founder of DynaGrace Enterprises (, an authorized distributor of the Nanozen DustCount 8899.  For further information, please connect with Linda on LinkedIn, or contact her at (800) 676-0058 ext 101.


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