Having the proper equipment when welding is essential for safety and efficiency. Not only should you have safety gloves, but you also need a mask with a powered air purifying respirator(PAPR) to ensure that you won’t inhale any fumes. When buying air respirator, you need to ask the right questions: what protection is provided; what size to buy; what training is required? However, some people are hesitant about wearing masks because of common misconceptions about the equipment.
To debunk the myths, here are three common misconceptions about air respirators:
Myth No. 1: Air Respirators need fit testing
The first, most common myth about air respirators is that every mask needs to be fit-tested before use. In reality, if you’re not using a full face PAPR mask, then you don’t need to have your mask fit-tested.
That’s because most PAPR masks are loose-fitting headgear; even though they are a bit loose, it doesn’t mean that you’re not protected. Most air respirator masks used by welders are capable of blocking out the toxic fumes and providing the wearer with filtered air.
Unless you’re working in a highly toxic environment, you don’t have to worry about your mask being a little loose because you’ll still be able to breathe in purified air and keep the hazardous fumes out.
Myth No. 2: You need to shave before you wear a mask
This may be true depending on the kind of environment you’ll be entering, and on the type of mask you’ll be wearing. For those people who need to work in a highly toxic environment, they will need tight-fitting respirators to ensure that there will be no space between the mask and your face. In this case, you do need to shave your beard. Tight-fitting air respirators won’t work with a face full of hair because your beard might leave a gap in your mask and let in dangerous fumes.
But, if the working environment is not toxic, then you don’t have to shave. As mentioned earlier, loose-fitting masks can still provide you with purified air and keep poisonous fumes out, so there’s no need to lose your beard.
Myth No. 3: If my shop is well-ventilated I don’t need a PAPR
Even if your workshop is not fully enclosed, you still need to wear a mask. The reason is that you’re working so close to the fumes that you’ll breathe them in before they dissipate into the open.
Besides, wearing a mask can make work more comfortable. Many PAPR masks are loose-fitting, so they won’t dig into your face while you’re working but are still able to block out contaminants.
The masks also cool your face and head. So, even when you’re working the day with a welding torch, which can be stifling, you’ll maintain a level of comfort.
Before you start with your welding project, make sure that you’re using an air respirator mask. Not only will it protect you from inhaling toxic fumes; it will keep you comfortable as you work.