M for Masks
M is for Masks, we focus on Masks and how we can best use them to protect ourselves when woodturning. Disposable cup shaped masks or respirators are graded according to the level of protection they provide.
It is important that the respirator is a good fit on the wearer's face otherwise unfiltered air will pass between the mask and the face. Beards and sideburns can make it more difficult to obtain an effective seal.
The standard respirators do not provide protection against hazards such as odours, organic vapours and fumes. These require the use of respirators which feature charcoal filters.
Some masks include an integral exhalation valve. This reduces the breathing effort involved as exhaled air does not have to pass through the filter media a second time.
Filtering facepieces do not provide oxygen and therefore masks should only be used in adequately ventilated areas containing sufficient oxygen to support life. Do not use masks when unknown substances or unknown concentrations of potentially harmful substances may be present.
Follow manufacturer's instructions for respirator use, particularly regarding fitting the mask to the face. Do not attempt to modify or alter respirators other than following instructed fitting adjustments. Some manufacturers recommend that their respirators are not worn for more than 8 hours. Filtering media should be changed immediately if the mask is damaged or breathing becomes difficult.
If you feel unwell, dizzy or become distressed leave the working area immediately and get out into fresh air.
LEARNING POINTS - Make sure that the mask makes a good seal around your face.
The air that leaks in around the mask bypasses the filter and is therefore unfiltered.