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The Importance of PPE and Respirators

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and respirators are important to use when working on any construction or painting project. If you're working with water-based paint in a properly ventilated area, it hardly seems worth the trouble to use a respirator. However, determining the air quality of a worksite without professional testing is difficult and you may be exposing yourself or others to contaminants without even realizing it. Respirators should always be worn by painters in environments with reduced air quality, especially if sanding or the use of solvent-based paints are involved.

painter wearing a respirator while sanding wall to prepare for painting project

There are two types of PPE respirators: atmosphere-supplying for providing clean air and air-purifying which removes harmful chemicals from the air. The type of mask you will need depends on the nature of the job.

What Do Respirators Protect?

A tight-fitting "half-mask" that covers the nose, mouth, and face is typically best for painters, though you can also get a mask that completely shields the head. In addition to protecting your lungs from harmful contaminants in the air, masks with full facepieces can also protect your eyes from becoming irritated. These masks efficiently protect workers from large amounts of dust, toxic fumes and gas, and sprays and vapors from paint.

What Happens if I Don't Use a Respirator?

Not using a PPE respirator can result in severe health risks. Short-term effects of being exposed to very little or poor oxygen can cause:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Labored breathing
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Continuous exposure to contaminated air can also lead to long-term health effects, including lung impairment, respiratory diseases, and cancer.

Long-term conditions may take time to develop and many people do not realize they're causing harm before it's too late. Ensure you’re working with a respirator and other safety equipment in any environment that could be unsafe.

For more information about proper respirators to wear while painting or if you need help starting your next painting project, contact Major Painting Company today!

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