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Time to recalibrate: incorporating human factors in respirator selection

Conference Paper


Abstract


  • Respiratory Protection is the last line of defence in control of exposures to hazardous substances, yet often the only viable choice in the workplace. Standards Australia has advised their intention to adopt the ISO 16976 suite of standards with their next revision; incorporating Human Factors such as anthropology and ergonomics as well as the individual’s physiological response to the use of respirator which will have ramifications for every workplace using respiratory protection.

    Smelter workers wore their normal negative pressure respirators and performed their usual work duties across their 12hr shifts whilst their breathing rates, heart rate and core temperature were monitored for comparison with the recommended limits in ISO/TS 16976-1.

    This research was enabled by the recent development and validation of new technology to measure breathing rates through a respirator whilst workers perform normal work activities.

    Not surprisingly, it was found that the higher the work rate experienced, the more pronounced the effects of RPD use were; and the more distinct the changes in breathing pattern became. The physiological effects and perceived burden of use were also more pronounced.

    The results provide the first real-time analysis of breathing rates of negative pressure RPD wearers performing normal duties in a smelter workplace. Interestingly, they were not always consistent with those specified in ISO standards that had been primarily determined from laboratory tests.

    Whilst laboratory tests give an indication of the use of respiratory protection, they are no substitute for real-time in-workplace evaluation. Studies which use simulated activities and non-industry cohorts may not be representative of the workplace use of Respiratory Protection. Wearers of Respirators at higher work rates are under additional strain, and the individual’s physiological capacity, as well as the work rates and environmental conditions, should be considered in respirator selection.

Publication Date


  • 2019

Citation


  • Whitelaw, J. (2019). Time to recalibrate: incorporating human factors in respirator selection. 37th Annual Conference & Exhibition of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists Inc Tullamarine: Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists.

Place Of Publication


  • Tullamarine

Abstract


  • Respiratory Protection is the last line of defence in control of exposures to hazardous substances, yet often the only viable choice in the workplace. Standards Australia has advised their intention to adopt the ISO 16976 suite of standards with their next revision; incorporating Human Factors such as anthropology and ergonomics as well as the individual’s physiological response to the use of respirator which will have ramifications for every workplace using respiratory protection.

    Smelter workers wore their normal negative pressure respirators and performed their usual work duties across their 12hr shifts whilst their breathing rates, heart rate and core temperature were monitored for comparison with the recommended limits in ISO/TS 16976-1.

    This research was enabled by the recent development and validation of new technology to measure breathing rates through a respirator whilst workers perform normal work activities.

    Not surprisingly, it was found that the higher the work rate experienced, the more pronounced the effects of RPD use were; and the more distinct the changes in breathing pattern became. The physiological effects and perceived burden of use were also more pronounced.

    The results provide the first real-time analysis of breathing rates of negative pressure RPD wearers performing normal duties in a smelter workplace. Interestingly, they were not always consistent with those specified in ISO standards that had been primarily determined from laboratory tests.

    Whilst laboratory tests give an indication of the use of respiratory protection, they are no substitute for real-time in-workplace evaluation. Studies which use simulated activities and non-industry cohorts may not be representative of the workplace use of Respiratory Protection. Wearers of Respirators at higher work rates are under additional strain, and the individual’s physiological capacity, as well as the work rates and environmental conditions, should be considered in respirator selection.

Publication Date


  • 2019

Citation


  • Whitelaw, J. (2019). Time to recalibrate: incorporating human factors in respirator selection. 37th Annual Conference & Exhibition of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists Inc Tullamarine: Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists.

Place Of Publication


  • Tullamarine