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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    2

    Default N95 masks and metal grinding

    Hello,

    Kind of a dumb question here, but I am a safety manager in a manufacturing plant in the US and was hoping someone here could give me advice on a situation I am currently dealing with as I am still fairly new to all of this and I am the first to admit I know next to nothing about metalwork. Since I started one of the changes I made was that the grinders (grinding metal 8+ hours a day, 5+ days a week) are required to wear respiratory protection to limit the intake of metal dust/debris during their shifts. At first there were no issues with compliance, but as we are getting in to summer months they have been raising concerns over heat and slight difficulty breathing on days with higher temp/humidity. They of course want to simply go without it for the majority of the work day, does anyone know of ways I can work with them to reduce discomfort/heat stress for them during the summer while still keeping them in compliance with respiratory protection?

    Thanks!

    * They have also been through fit/respiratory testing

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Port Pirie SA
    Age
    46
    Posts
    808

    Default

    All negative pressure respirators(ie: non powered) suffer from user discomfort during hot and humid weather and are terrible during any extended heavy physical work once you get a puff'n'sweat up.
    They also suffer from leaks, doesnt matter how many fit tests you have there is no such thing as a perfect face seal unless it encompasses your whole head and neck!

    The only real answer is positive pressure protection, like a AH series Racal helmet, as a bonus you also get high impact face and head protection... and its much cooler and easy breathing for the user.
    I have been wearing a Racal for over 20yrs in a metal refinery, several years before that wearing sundstrom and paper masks... I would quit my job if they forced me to go back to them!
    ....................................................................

  3. #3
    BobL is online now Member: Blue and white apron brigade
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    4,352

    Default

    I know nothing about your setup or where you are in the US but have you considered using a dust extraction system?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Far West Wimmera
    Age
    58
    Posts
    4,095

    Default

    Exactly what type of grinding are you talking about?

    Dean

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thanks everyone for the quick replies, I'll have to look in to the positive pressure protection, but i'm guessing it will be a no go in the end due to price as we would need around 20 of them for when we were busy again. To answer everyones questions, We are in IL and they are grinding steel pieces after they have been welded with handheld electric grinders. recently we moved and now have half the space we used to as the owners of the buidling wanted to use the front half for thier own business, and well before I started (I've only been doign this a few months) we use to have set up with made specifically for the guys grinding metal all day with a dust extractor, but being crammed in to smaller space has changed things a bit...Right now since we are a bit slow they are in the welding area, two rows of welders with a large isle in between which is where they are doing the grinding and is a fairly open area. If I left anything out or more information is needed let me know.

    Thanks!

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