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    Science of Safety Podcast: Episode 49.

    September 05, 2019


    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 49:
    When & Why, Replacing RPE Filters.

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 49:
    When & Why, Replacing RPE Filters.

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 49:
    When & Why, Replacing RPE Filters.


    In this episode Terry Gorman, 3M’s Technical Services Manager for the Personal Safety Division in Australia and New Zealand joins us to discuss when and why to change respiratory filters.

    Respirator filters do not last forever. As they do their job capturing airborne contaminants in the maze of fibres that is the filter, it becomes harder for air to make its way through and It becomes too difficult to breathe. If not changed regularly undue physical burden will be placed on the worker, and particulate filters or gas & vapour cartridges may not provide adequate protection after having reached their capacity.




    Guest Bio:

    Terry Gorman (pictured left) is a Certified Occupational Hygienist who has been involved in workplace safety for nearly 30 years. He has worked for 3M Australia and New Zealand in the Personal Safety Division for 18 years.

    Terry is a current member of the Australian/New Zealand Standard Committees responsible for respiratory protection (AS/NZS 1715 & 1716) as well as the Eye/Face Protection Standards Committee (AS/NZS 1337 & 1338).

    He currently represents Standards Australia on the International Standards Organisation (ISO) Committee TC94/SC15, a team of international specialists creating a set of global respiratory standards.

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    In this episode, Mark & Terry discuss the following:

    • Where is PPE is in the hierarchy of controls?
    • What are some higher order controls that workplaces could use to not rely on RPE as its primary control?
    • What is the difference between air purifying and supplied air respirators?
    • When would you not use air purifying respirators?
    • Where should work places start in selecting the correct filters for RPE?
    • What types of filters classifications are there?
    • Why do filters need to be changed?
    • What is the difference between a P1, P2 & P3?
    • How long does a particulate filter last and when should they be replaced?
    • What does a pre-filter do?
    • Why is a P3 filter worn on a half face mask assigned the same protection factor as a P2 filter on a half face mask?
    • When would a particulate filter not be suitable?
    • How do gas & vapour filters work and are there situations where gas and vapour filters should not be used?
    • Is there a gas and vapour cartridge for all gases and vapours?
    • How long do gas & vapour filter last and when should they be replaced?
    • Can a worker use the warning properties to know when a gas & vapour filter should be changed?
    • How does a workplace go about determining a filter change schedule?
    • What is the shelf life of filters and how should they be stored when not in use?
    • Where can listeners get more detailed information about RPE?

    To understand when and why respiratory protection filters need to be replaced you first need an understanding of the different types of filters, how they work and the protection they provide. Not all respirators are created equally, and it’s critical for workplaces to understand these important factors to provide appropriate and adequate protection. Disposable respirators are throwaway items, and therefore maintenance-free, reusable respirators, however, do require some upkeep. Of particular importance in the maintenance regime are the filters. Each type of filter has its own specific replacement criteria, be they particulate filters or gas & vapour cartridges. Tune in as we take an in-depth look at respiratory protection equipment filters to prevent exposure to harmful contaminated air in the prevention of occupational illness.


    Additional Resources:

    Contact a 3M Safety Specialist at scienceofsafetyanz@mmm.com for more information.