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PPE for finishing. Spraying mostly


Bushwacked
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This is a question in my wheelhouse since respiratory protection is part of what I do in the day job!

Ultimately, it depends on what you're spraying.

To start, I'll break down the different terms..

HEPA - This is a particulate filter mostly used for dust but, will work for larger droplets as well.  Commonly referred to as a P100.

Organic Vapor - This is a charcoal filter to filter VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).  In short, you can't smell the stinky stuff

Acid Gas - This is more of an industrial filter not normally needed in a wood shop. Perhaps if you were fuming a bunch of white oak with ammonia or something similar.

Piggy Back or Stacked Cartridges - The most common of these are the HEPA and Organic Vapor cartridges stacked into one cartridge.  You can get just about any of them in a stacked configuration.  Note:  These will be a little harder to breath through since you're going through 2 filters.

So, based on those definitions you pick the cartridge that fits your needs.  The HEPA will be the least expensive and they go up in price as you move down the definitions list. It should also be noted that if you were working for an employer requiring one of these respirators, a fit test would be required before use.  I'm not really sure how they get away selling them to the general public but, they do.  For the record, these are the same as what we use in oil refineries and chemical plants.

Also, the cartridges are usually a different color depending on what type of cartridge it is.  Just easier to pick out what you need without having to read a package.

On that note, if you store you respirator in a sealed bag between uses, you'll get longer life out of the cartridges and will know it's not been contaminated between uses.  Just a side note on this, in industry, if OSHA shows up at a job site it's a $5000.00 fine for each respirator not being stored in this manner.

Hope that helps!

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Amazing reply/info Kev!! Appreciate the thoroughness of it!! I haven’t actually stored my current mask in a sealed bag ... just normally blow it out when I’m ready to use it. 

although it brings up a couple other questions .. 

1) how do you know when your filters actually need to be replaced? 

2) how many people do they actually catch with using the sealing bags?

 

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1 minute ago, Bushwacked said:

Amazing reply/info Kev!! Appreciate the thoroughness of it!! I haven’t actually stored my current mask in a sealed bag ... just normally blow it out when I’m ready to use it. 

although it brings up a couple other questions .. 

1) how do you know when your filters actually need to be replaced? 

2) how many people do they actually catch with using the sealing bags?

 

1.  Your respirator will answer that question for you.  If you notice it's a little harder to breath through, that's a good sign.  Most manufacturers usually suggest about 8 hours of use on most filters.  IMO, that's conservative for liability reasons on their part.  I'm usually comfortable with about 15 to 20 hours on my HEPA and OV filters.  OV filters are easier to tell..  If you smell it, replace them.

2.  Depends on the site.  Many sites I go to don't get many OSHA visits because they spend the money to hire people like me.  In the course of my daily activities though, this is one of the things that I'm looking for.  Industrial setting is a little different.  If 15 people take off their respirator and hang them up while they're at break, how the hell do they remember which one is theirs when they return?  They don't have name tags...lol.  You'd probably be shocked if I told you how many of these I've thrown in the trash because they were left out on a job site.

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1 hour ago, Kev said:

1.  Your respirator will answer that question for you.  If you notice it's a little harder to breath through, that's a good sign.  Most manufacturers usually suggest about 8 hours of use on most filters.  IMO, that's conservative for liability reasons on their part.  I'm usually comfortable with about 15 to 20 hours on my HEPA and OV filters.  OV filters are easier to tell..  If you smell it, replace them.

2.  Depends on the site.  Many sites I go to don't get many OSHA visits because they spend the money to hire people like me.  In the course of my daily activities though, this is one of the things that I'm looking for.  Industrial setting is a little different.  If 15 people take off their respirator and hang them up while they're at break, how the hell do they remember which one is theirs when they return?  They don't have name tags...lol.  You'd probably be shocked if I told you how many of these I've thrown in the trash because they were left out on a job site.

man that few hours, even with your 15-20? I am assuming people wearing a mask with P100's on them for dust are not changing their filters every other day if they are putting 6-8 days in. If this is the case, I need to change out mine too ? haha. That gets expensive.

Haha! If the refinery people are anything like the roughnecks ... not a shit was given. 

32 minutes ago, Kev said:

Does anyone feel this information should be expanded a little and added to the reference section?

 

I am all for learning, as this topic is somewhat new to me ... I know the basics, wear a mask, dont breath this crap in try to wear a mask as much as possible to protect your lungs. Although, gotta say, while I am cutting things on the tablesaw or mitersaw or really any of the big tools, I dont wear a mask. Now if I am cutting MDF, I will wear a mask as much as I remember to as that is nasty stuff.

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22 minutes ago, Bushwacked said:

man that few hours, even with your 15-20? I am assuming people wearing a mask with P100's on them for dust are not changing their filters every other day if they are putting 6-8 days in. If this is the case, I need to change out mine too ? haha. That gets expensive.

Haha! If the refinery people are anything like the roughnecks ... not a hoot was given. 

I am all for learning, as this topic is somewhat new to me ... I know the basics, wear a mask, dont breath this crap in try to wear a mask as much as possible to protect your lungs. Although, gotta say, while I am cutting things on the tablesaw or mitersaw or really any of the big tools, I dont wear a mask. Now if I am cutting MDF, I will wear a mask as much as I remember to as that is nasty stuff.

In the refineries, the masks and cartridges are changed daily.  They don't have to pay for them so, it's really not a battle to get this to happen.

Fortunately, in the shop we try to collect the dust at the source.  This is a huge help but, a respirator should still be worn and I'm as guilty as everyone else about not wearing them.  It's worse for me because I know about it...lol

The other part of these masks is that they're supposed to have a fit test to go with them.  You'll never pass a fit test with facial hair.  This means that all those people in video wearing a respirator with a beard  are not truly protecting themselves.  Where I work, they would be sent home to shave...lol. But, they sell the masks to the general public with written instructions that 99% of the people toss away and the other 1% don't follow them anyway.

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