3 Common Respirator Myths Debunked

3 Common Respirator Myths Debunked

Respirators are used to protect the wearer from inhaling harmful substances, including infectious particles and chemical vapors. With varying degrees of protection, respirators are available in many different types. While particulate respirators are used to filter only particles (dust and mist, for instance), chemical cartridge respirators (also known as “gas masks”) actually purify the air while you inhale.

Finding the right respirator to suit your needs will depend on the nature of your application. Just as importantly, you’ll also need to carefully follow the device’s guidelines to ensure full protection during use. There are some myths surrounding the proper ways to wear, use, and enforce respirators, many of which can actually be dangerous if believed. Here, we’ve collected and debunked some of the most common respirator myths:

3 Safety Respirator Myths:

 

MYTH: My company doesn’t need a respiratory protection program if employees wear masks voluntarily.

MYTH: My company doesn’t need a respiratory protection program if employees wear masks voluntarily.

 

TRUTH: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets forth requirements which employers must follow to keep individuals safe against the exposure of harmful air pollutants. Specifically, OHSA has a Respiratory Protection Standard which enforces respirator regulations. For instance, in settings where employees could be exposed to harmful fumes, vapors, smokes, sprays, and mists, the company must have a documented plan to explain how their respiratory protection program will be governed. This should also include procedures, specific types of equipment to be worn, care and use of the equipment, and medical evaluations for employees to verify their ability to wear respirators. Thus, even if your employees willingly wear respirators, government regulations still require you to have a plan in place.

 

 

MYTH: My facial hair won’t hinder respirator effectiveness.

MYTH: My facial hair won’t hinder respirator effectiveness.

 

TRUTH: It’s possible beards and mustaches could leave you more exposed to air pollutants. Here’s why: in order to keep you fully protected, the respirator needs to form an air-tight seal against your skin. Beards, clothing, and any other blockage preventing the seal from coming into direct contact with your skin can become an issue. By preventing a tight seal or blocking the exhalation valve, facial hair can allow contaminated air to leak into your respirator.

 

 

MYTH: I don’t need to change my respirator’s cartridge until I can smell the chemical while wearing it

MYTH: I don’t need to change my respirator’s cartridge until I can smell the chemical while wearing it.

TRUTH: Certain types of respirators use cartridges to purify the air. While they offer a high level of protection, they become less effective over time as the cartridge wears out. Thus, waiting until the cartridge is no longer working essentially defeats the purpose of wearing a respirator, as it no longer protects the wearer effectively. Moreover, using employees’ ability to detect smells is an unreliable method for changing cartridges, as they may be less sensitive to the fumes after working with them for a long time. OHSA mandates that employers should have a cartridge change schedule in place, so they can be replaced prior to losing their effectiveness.

 

If you’re in need of reusable respirators and cartridges to keep your employees protected, look no further than Harmony Business Supplies. Dozens of options are available online to accommodate every application, and a product specialist can help you if you’re not sure which model is right for your needs.

3 Differences Between Nitrile Gloves & Latex Gloves

3 Differences Between Nitrile & Latex Gloves

Latex Gloves vs Nitrile Gloves

3 Key Differences of Disposable Nitrile Gloves

Until recently, latex was the go-to material for gloves across many different applications. Now, we have a couple of different choices when it comes to disposable gloves. Latex gloves are still commonly used in some medical applications. However, nitrile gloves are becoming an increasingly popular choice.

Here, we’ll discuss the differences in features between these two types of disposable glove materials:

1. What They’re Made Of

Did You Know…?

Latex is actually made of organic tree sap.

Sap from rubber tree

It’s no surprise that individuals who are prone to allergies often find themselves irritated by latex. In fact, latex allergies are so common that FDA even issued a recommendation for medical suppliers to label products according containing latex.

Because contact with latex can cause harmful irritations to the user if they are allergic to it. Latex gloves are considered to be more inherently dangerous than nitrile.

Latex allergic reaction
Latex allergic reaction

Nitrile is made of inorganic synthetic materials. Considered to be 100% clean of allergens. Thus, there are no harmful properties (specifically, allergenic proteins) found within disposable nitrile gloves.

So, f latex allergies are a concern for anyone coming into contact with your disposable gloves, nitrile is the obvious choice.

Nitrile is the perfect choice for latex allergies, medical exams, and food handling.

2. How They Fit

Latex gloves are available in a variety of sizes, so their fit is somewhat customizable. That said, the material is non-conforming. Regardless of wear duration, latex gloves will never fully mold to your hand.

Latex has no sizing memory feature. As a result, many cleanroom operators and other types of disposable glove wearers find latex to be less than ideal in terms of comfort.

Now:

Let’s say we have a nitrile glove on the other hand (literally and figuratively). It will actually form to the wearer, thanks to its unique memory membrane. Unlike latex.

The result is a more comfortable fit. And with reduced slipping, sticking, or other nuisances typically caused by latex gloves. Nitrile may also protect against hand fatigue.

3. Level Of Protection Provided

Nitrile gloves offers superior puncture protection
Nitrile gloves offers superior puncture protection

With a proper fit, latex can be fairly durable. It’s highly resistant against alkalis, acids, ketones, alcohols, and other types of contaminants.

Nitrile is more puncture resistant:

Latex does little to protect the skin in contrast with the puncture resistance achieved by nitrile gloves.

Whereas latex can rupture when used too roughly or by snagging on a piece of equipment. Nitrile is more durable and thus achieves a higher level of barrier protection.

In applications where operator safety could be a concern, nitrile is a top-notch choice.

As you can see, nitrile tends to outperform latex in many key areas.

Latex gloves are still an affordable and feasible option for some applications, including certain industrial settings.

Yet, for applications in which users may come into contact with puncture risks or harsh chemicals, opting for nitrile’s added protection will provide greater peace of mind. And it’s also a necessary step if you have employees with latex allergies.

Browse and learn about all of options of latex gloves and nitrile disposable gloves in our store.

How to wear Face Masks

How to Breathe Properly with a Face Mask

Breathe Safely with Face Masks

In many work environments, face masks are critical for keeping employees safe against breathing in toxins, contaminants, or other harmful particles in the air. While wearing one is second-nature for many associates, if you’re new to the practice, it can feel unfamiliar at first.

Ensuring a proper fit isn’t just essential to your comfort; it’s also critical to keeping you and your fellow employees safe and healthy. Here, we go over the basics of wearing a face mask properly to ensure safe breathing.

1. Prep

One aspect of wearing a face mask properly begins before you even put it on. In order to prevent germ transfer in a cleanroom setting, you must first clean your hands using antibacterial soap to keep the mask sterile/clean. If there’s no hand soap within reach, use alcohol disinfectant instead.

2. Place It

face mask placement

Before bringing the mask up to your face, make sure you’re holding it so that it’s facing the right direction. The top portion of the mask should have a bendable edge, which you’ll fit against your nose for a secure seal. Additionally, either side of the mask should have ear loops, which, as their names suggest, you’ll placed behind each ear. The loops on ear masks are elastic and thus designed to stretch for a comfortable fit with all face shapes. There are also tie style face masks instead of elastic ear loop face masks.

Some face masks also have eye shields to protect your eyes from coming into contact with hazardous fluids or objects. The shield components of these masks should fully cover your eye area. These protective shield face masks also feature fog-resistant panes to ensure clear vision while you’re working.

Once you’ve secured the ear loops or ties, you may also wish to adjust the top edge so that it sits more comfortably and securely against your nose and face. Make sure both your nose and mouth are fully covered by the mask.

3. Double Check

After the mask is secure, check the sides of it for any escaped air. While most designs with ear loops prevent air from escaping, you may have to press the sides against your face with some types of masks for a snug fit.

4. Breathe THIS Way

inhale through your nose exhale through your mouth

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you can breathe with ease with your mask firmly secure. Yet, it’s important to be mindful of your breath while you have your mask on, as there’s a certain way of breathing used by professionals who wear masks in clean environments. To ensure safe and comfortable breathing, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Your nose traps any contaminants in your cilia (the tiny hairs within your nostrils) to prevent them from entering your body. The mouth is better for exhaling, as it helps you release all of your air more efficiently.

5. Remove with Care

Once you’re done wearing the mask, be careful to touch only the ear loops or ties as you remove it. Dispose of it in the designated receptacle and wash your hands again.
There are many styles of disposable face masks available for different applications.. To find the right option to suit your business’s needs, browse through our selection online.

Get a Hand with Chemical-Resistant Gloves

Get a Hand with Chemical-Resistant Gloves
Chemical Resistant 18 mil Yellow Latex Gloves
Chemical Resistant 18 mil Yellow Latex Gloves

You don’t need to get an A in Chemistry Class to understand that there are tons of kinds of chemicals in the world. Over 60 million kinds of chemicals are registered with Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) system. From these, about 80,000 are subject to utilization by various industries.

The Chemistry of Chemicals

Chemicals simply co-exist with many industrial operations today. Whether in manufacturing, automotive and electronic production, pharmaceutical, medical, and chemical laboratories, and even in agricultural industries, these chemicals are essential for daily process and are proven to be beneficial for the business.
It is said that ‘with great power comes great responsibility’, the saying is also true with chemicals. Handling these powerful elements certainly require a great amount of accountability. Why? Because there are certain chemicals that are corrosive or can cause visible destruction or permanent changes in human skin tissue at the site of contact. These substances can cause harm if not handled correctly.

Why Use Chemical Resistant Gloves?

Chemical Resistant 13" Green Nitrile Gloves
Chemical Resistant 13″ Green Nitrile Gloves

Ideal uses for chemical resistant gloves include food processing, automotive, metal fabrication, scientific research, and other areas of industry.Because you are handling powerful elements, wearing chemical-resistant gloves is one great way to demonstrate responsible chemical management and protect yourself, and your employees. Think of chemical-resistant gloves as Batman’s costume whenever you’re wearing it. Wearing protective gear helps to protect workers from injuries and helps save money and bad reports from accidents. Now that’s super!

Characteristics of Good Chemical Resistant Gloves

Chemical Resistant Neoprene Coated Latex Gloves
Chemical Resistant Neoprene Coated Latex Gloves

It is important that you opt for chemical-resistant gloves that have these essential attributes:

Comfort

This is probably one of the first things that workers would consider as to whether or not they would wear chemical-resistant gloves. The level of comfort in wearing gloves can really affect how long one can bear to wear it. If the gloves offer poor level of comfort, workers are likely to remove them even if it means working with no protection at all. So make sure you invest in gloves that offer high levels of comfort. Besides, a ‘comfortable’ worker is more productive than one that is not.

Performance

Questions that you need to ask when opting for chemical-resistant gloves are ‘Is it making handling too slippery? Is it slowing down the hands’ mobility? Does wearing it make it more or less difficult to do the job?’ Even if the gloves offer comfort but still fail to give high level of performance, it would still not be as helpful as it ought to be.

Protection

Chemical Resistant 12" Smooth Finish PVC Coated Glove
Chemical Resistant 12″ Smooth Finish PVC Coated Glove

Finally, consider the gloves’ level of protection when handling corrosive chemicals. The very reason why chemical handlers are required to wear chemical-resistant gloves is to protect them upon contact with the substances. This is why it is essential that you choose the kind of gloves with a high level of protection against chemical contact such as acids. Keeping your hands protected from chemical injuries and irritation means wearing the right glove for the job. We offer chemical resistant gloves that can be used for any work application, from cleanup to directly handling harsh and hazardous liquids. Keep workers’ hands safe while providing dexterity and comfort needed to improve productivity.