03/31/2011

Protecting Respiratory Health

Although personal respiratory protection is widely recognized as having a lower
priority than reduction of any risk at source, respiratory protective equipment
(RPE) is a major part of risk management for many employers. We have identified
the key elements of what constitutes an effective risk control programme
involving RPE, through a 3-fold approach involving (i) a review of the
published scientific literature, (ii) exploring the issue through >40 years of
research publications from the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) (in
which the ergonomics of personal protection equipment has been a significant
thread), and (iii) a series of interviews and discussions with IOM and Health
and Safety Executive staff with experience in the testing, prescription, or use
of RPE. We have used the findings to formulate a series of recommendations for
the constituents of an effective RPE programme. The role of management is
paramount in recognizing the need for and providing appropriate RPE, which is
both technically and ergonomically effective. Only then does any focus on the
role of the employee, in wearing the RPE correctly at the appropriate times,
becomes viable.

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AplusA-online.de - Source: The Annals of Occupational Hygiene